OPS Accused of Using 'Excessive Force' Against Ottawa Teens In Mall Parking Lot (UPDATED)
Local music manager says over 15 cop cars showed up and pulled guns on them.
Ottawa music manager Chris K. Simba wants answers from TheService (OPS) after he said he was unjustly detained in the St. Laurent Mall parking lot.
In a Twitter statement, Simba said he and a group of people were meeting to discuss a music video shoot in the parking lot of the St. Laurent Mall when upwards of 15 police cars approached the group and pointed "rifle guns and pistols" at them.
We are seeking accountability and calling on improvements in their de-escalation towards these situations.
Chris K. Simba via Twitter
According to Simba's tweets, the group was in the parking lot and waiting for another member to arrive when police "stormed the area" and handcuffed the teenagers, forcing them to lay on the ground.
"They probed us for information, including [about] shootings in other neighbourhoods. We all complied," Simba said on Twitter. "They refused to tell us why we were being detained."
Simba tweeted that he tried to film the situation, but a gun was pointed in his face and he was told to drop his phone.
In a statement provided to Narcity Media, Ottawa Police said they received a call “reporting an individual with a handgun in the 1200 block of St. Laurent Blvd.”
OPS said multiple officers responded to the scene and “arrested four males, two adults and two youths,” seizing a “replica handgun” in the process, before releasing all the individuals unconditionally. No charges were laid, according to the police statement.
Simba said on Twitter, "At no time, did we brandish a BB gun prop to the public.” The tweet continued, “It remained in the car at all times.”
“We do not understand who or why the police were called on us. We were not arrested,” Simba said in his Twitter statement. “We were not in any wrong doing.”
He added that the group wants the OPS to explain what happened and release any related 911 phone call recordings and all video footage from the scene.
The story is making waves in Canada, with politician Jagmeet Singh calling the incident an example of systemic racism in policing on Twitter.
"Surely there is a better way to approach and investigate a situation like this," Singh said.
*Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with additional clarifications and comments.