Family demands answers after daughter handcuffed by Surrey RCMP

RCMP investigate 'unfortunate' mistaken identity that led to handcuffing of teenage girl

The parents of a teenage girl are demanding an apology from Surrey RCMP, after their daughter was handcuffed and taken to the ground in what they say is a case of mistaken identity.

"My daughter, she did nothing. She was on her way to find — what every parent wishes their children start doing — finding her first job," said Garry Auguste.

A video — posted on Facebook and viewed nearly 80,000 times — shows two officers holding down the 16-year-old who yells out profanities and asks the officers to check her identification card.

She can be heard yelling, "my name is not LaToya, ask me what my name is."

The video shows the officers looking through her purse, checking her ID and then ease off of her.

"You have no right to touch someone who done nothing ... without even identifying the person," said Auguste.

CBC News has agreed to not use the daughter's name since she is a minor and the parents fear she will be harassed on social media.

Surrey RCMP will only confirm that an incident took place and that they're investigating what happened April 28.

"Officers are reviewing the matter and have already met with the family," said Cpl Scotty Schumann of the Surrey RCMP. 

'Waiting for the bus'

CBC news cannot confirm what events led up to the incident. 

However, according to the girl and Ash Hotti, who took the video, the girl was waiting for her bus at the Newton Exchange Bay. 

"People ask me what happened before the video, but honestly there wasn't much to see. She was just standing, waiting for the bus, just like me," said Hotti.

Hotti said he was about a foot-and-a-half away from the girl and heard police asking if her name was LaToya.

"She said no and they asked her a couple more times, asking her different questions like, what are you doing around here, and just kind of like harassing her," he said.

When she began backing away, Hotti said the officers grabbed her, threw her on the ground and handcuffed her.

"That's when I started filming. I just thought it was kind of wrong. She didn't do anything wrong," he said.

'I was panicking, obviously'

The teenage girl said she told officers they had the wrong person when they approached her, calling her a high-risk mental health patient. When the officers continued questioning her, she said she began backing away.

"I was panicking, obviously, because of all the things going on in the world right now — like being in a situation like that is not a position I would want to be in. I was nervous," she said.

She said she is still traumatized from the incident, has trouble sleeping and is suffering from back and head pain.

The family, originally from Haiti, have lived in Surrey for nearly two decades. They say they've always felt safe, until now.

"I never thought something like that would happen here in Canada," said Ruth Auguste, the girl's mother.

The family said they've lost their faith in the local police force.

"I've been telling her to watch out, watch out for whom? For the bad guys, but the first person to victimize her is someone who is supposed to be knowing what to do," said Garry Auguste, who was a former police officer in Haiti.

"The RCMP should know better, and anyone carrying the uniform should know better," he said.

The family is now asking the RCMP to apologize for the incident that it says has humiliated their daughter publicly. They're also asking for a review of the officers' conduct to ensure something like this doesn't happen again.