Jack Parcells, 12, remains in the Alberta Children’s Hospital Thursday night, recovering from a fractured skull, partial hearing loss and other external injuries, according to his parents.
His mother and father said they were worried their son, who has autism, would hurt himself Wednesday evening, and called 911 to get help.
Jack’s mom, Mary Ann Parcells, said she told the dispatcher as well as the two responding Calgary police officers about her son.
“I ran them through the fact he’s autistic, he has anxiety, ADHD, and he was at my parents’ house,” Mary Ann recalled. “He hasn’t taken his medications for the last four days and he’s ramped up and I can’t get him to calm down.”
She wanted the officers to take her son to the hospital, where he could get some mental health crisis intervention. But instead, Jack’s parents said he suffered physical injuries by the very person they expected would help.
Jack’s father, Doug Parcells, said he is still in disbelief.
“For 12 years we kept him safe and we always said, ‘If ever you’re in trouble, just find someone in a uniform,’ and his first interaction with police, he’s slammed to the ground and busts his head open? How do we tell him that’s OK?” Doug asked.
Once the two officers arrived, the Parcells said police attempted to get their son into the police cruiser, and that’s when the episode escalated. Jack was upset and swore at the officer who was about to handcuff him.
“He had his hands behind his back and he said, ‘You bastard, you’re not going to cuff,’” Mary Ann said. “And then I heard a pop and I looked up…he’s on the ground and blacked out. So I bent down to pick him up, held him in my arms and said, ‘Jack, Jack, wake up! Talk to mom.’”
Doug said he saw the incident unfold.
“In anger and in response to being called a name, he took him by the upper body and he slammed him into the concrete in two seconds–full force–there was no fall. He was body-slammed by this officer we called to help him. I yelled and said, ‘What did you do? What did you do?’ He looked at me and said, ‘He fell,’” Doug said.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) is investigating the case.
The family believ
eves police need better training when it comes to these kinds of calls.
“Aside from the fact Jack is autistic, even if he wasn’t, you don’t treat a 12-year-old that way.”
“You don’t treat an adult that way. Nobody deserves this,” Doug said.
A statement from the Calgary Police Service (CPS) said the events leading up to the boy’s injuries are being investigated and “details will have to be released by ASIRT.”
“In this case, the boy was taken into custody for transport to the hospital and was not cooperative,” reads the statement. “During the course of the struggle with our officers, the boy was injured.”
CPS said its members take any in-custody injury seriously–“especially those involving a minor”–and added the incident did not have “the outcome that anyone involved wanted.”
“Our officers are trained to resolve situations with as little risk as possible to themselves, the public and the people we take into our custody.”