THUNDER BAY – An officer involved in a video shared to social media that appears to show her striking a youth strapped to a gurney is on leave from the Thunder Bay Police Service to receive medical treatment.
Thunder Bay Police provided an update on the incident that took place at an Egan Street residence and is at the centre of a viral video posted to social media showing the officer appearing to strike a 17-year-old Indigenous youth strapped to a gurney.
The matter is being investigated under the Police Services Act and according to a media release issued by Thunder Bay Police on Tuesday, the officer is receiving medical treatment “as a result of exposure to bodily fluids which occurred during her physical contact with a 17-year-old female at the Egan Street residence.”
The 21-second video surfaced on social media last weekend and depicts an officer appearing to strike a 17-year-old youth. It was later revealed the youth is a student at the Matawa Learning Centre and from the Nibinamik First Nation.
According to Thunder Bay Police, officers were called to a residence on Egan Street the night of Dec. 1. While on the scene, an intoxicated 17-year-old female was located inside and was being prepared for transport to the hospital.
In the video, someone can be heard saying: “You are going to the hospital.” Shortly after, an officer appears to strike the youth and says: “You do not spit on me.”
The video continues to be condemned by First Nation leaders and possible legal action is being considered.
In a media release issued on Tuesday, the Matawa Chiefs Council said it is continuing to investigate the incident and considering appropriate legal recourse.
“The Matawa Chiefs Council wish to condemn the actions of the first responders who were present and involved in this incident,” the statement reads. “These actions are unacceptable and unjustifiable, regardless how they were precipitated.”
“We will stand in solidarity with Nibinamik First Nation in holding the TBPS and Superior North EMS accountable for their abhorrent approach to bringing one of our youth to safety,” the statement reads.
The video has sparked outrage from other First Nation leaders, including Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief, Alvin Fiddler. People commenting online have also spoke out in support of the officer, while others are speaking out in defense of the youth.
The investigation is ongoing and Thunder Bay Police said they will continue to provide updates as they become available. Because this is a Police Services Act investigation, Thunder Bay Police chief, Sylvie Hauth, cannot comment on the matter.