Alberta teen with autism still traumatized weeks after RCMP arrested him at a playground

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WARNING: This story comprises descriptions of self-harm.

Ryley Bauman squeals as he scampers throughout playground tools, crunching useless leaves with his fingers and scattering the tiny items into the wind.

A siren from a passing ambulance blares and he runs to his mom, burying his head in her shoulder as she wraps her arms round him tight.

The Edmonton teenager, who has autism, was arrested at a St. Albert playground earlier this month. More than three weeks later, the boy’s dad and mom say he stays traumatized by his encounter with police. 

Ryley, 16, was taking part in in a park behind his grandparents home in St. Albert on Oct. 2 when he was detained by RCMP who believed he was a man impaired by medicine. 

An hour later, he was transferred from a police holding cell to hospital. Mounties mentioned the boy repeatedly harmed himself whereas of their custody.

No prices had been laid towards Ryley and none are being thought of, RCMP mentioned.

Ryley’s mom, Laura Hawthorne, mentioned her son — who’s non-verbal and capabilities at the extent of a seven-year-old — has been modified by the hours he spent in custody. 

Ryley is now usually anxious. The arrest has led to main setbacks in his improvement, she mentioned.

Hearing sirens leaves him panicked for hours, Hawthorne mentioned. 

“He simply jumps out of pores and skin,” she mentioned. “He simply runs as much as me and his entire physique shakes. He is absolutely struggling.” 

Scared to depart the home alone or be unsupervised at dwelling, even for a jiffy, he refuses to return to his grandparents’ dwelling in St. Albert.

“My entire life has been Ryley, simply making an attempt to assist him via,” his mom mentioned. “And this has simply undone every little thing.”

Aaron Krause and Laura Hawthorne say their son is struggling to manage after he was arrested by St. Albert RCMP earlier this month. (David Bajer/CBC)

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, the province’s policing watchdog, is investigating the conduct of the officers concerned within the arrest. RCMP have additionally launched an inner investigation. 

RCMP have mentioned they had been informed by 911 callers that Ryley was a man impaired by medicine. However, particulars launched final week by ASIRT reveal that police had been knowledgeable earlier than the arrest that Ryley might need a incapacity.

‘Back at zero’

Ryley’s father, Aaron Krause, mentioned his son now clings to his dad and mom and has been robbed of his hard-won independence.

Simple duties like getting ready his personal meals in the microwave at the moment are a problem, Krause mentioned. He not needs to trip his scooter exterior the household’s Edmonton dwelling, as soon as his favorite exercise.

His medicines have needed to be elevated and extra behavioural remedy will likely be wanted to assist him handle, Krause mentioned.

“He was doing very well,” he mentioned. “We’re beginning again at zero once more and it is a lot as a result of individuals do not actually perceive how a lot it takes to get him to that time.”

St. Albert RCMP mentioned they made the arrest after receiving a number of 911 calls about a man who was “exhibiting erratic behaviour” close to a playground behind Albert Lacombe college.

RCMP mentioned they had been informed Ryley, whom they described as co-operative, was an grownup. Officers determined to arrest him when the teen could not inform them his title, detachment commander Insp. Ryan Comaniuk informed a information convention on Oct. 5.

The boy started hurting himself throughout the trip to the detachment however paramedics weren’t referred to as till after he was positioned in holding cells, RCMP mentioned.

On Oct. 7, ASIRT was directed to analyze the arrest. 

In an Oct. 19 information launch, ASIRT mentioned RCMP had been informed earlier than they encountered Ryley that he might have a incapacity.

“RCMP acquired a report that a ‘youthful male’ in his ‘early 20s’ was behaving oddly within the playground,” ASIRT mentioned. 

“The caller thought that the male might have ‘some extreme handicap’ or presumably be on medicine, and shouldn’t be left within the playground alone. Police had been dispatched for a suspicious male who was both on medicine or handicapped.”

RCMP declined to remark additional on the case Monday, citing the continued ASIRT investigation.

Ryley was arrested at this playground, behind Albert Lacombe college in St. Albert, on Oct. 2. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

Ryley and his siblings had been at their grandparents’ home for dinner when the teen requested to play on the swings within the park. The playground might be seen from the house’s kitchen window. 

The household realized Ryley was lacking minutes later, when his grandmother referred to as him in for ice cream. 

Within an hour, after looking the park and close by ravine, they filed a lacking particular person report. RCMP referred to as again 20 minutes later to tell them that they’d arrested Ryley.

It was the scariest moment of my life. They mentioned he was apprehended. I still do not perceive why.– Laura Hawthorne

“The entire time we had been simply searching for him and we did not know,” she mentioned.

“It occurred so fast. And I did not know if he was kidnapped. I did not know if one thing had occurred to him. He was simply gone,” she mentioned.

“It was the scariest moment of my life. They mentioned he was apprehended. I still do not perceive why.” 

A woman and child, holding hands, walk through a park.
Ryley holds palms with his mom as he walks via a park close to their Edmonton dwelling. (David Bajer/CBC)

Ryley was launched from hospital with soft-tissue accidents to his head, face, again and wrists. Ryley has by no means harmed himself earlier than, she mentioned. 

The dad and mom say their reduction at discovering Ryley quickly turned to disbelief and anger. 

Krause mentioned he referred to as RCMP for a proof however is still ready for solutions. 

“It’s each autism mother or father’s worst nightmare,” he mentioned.

“If you discuss to oldsters who’ve kids which have autism, they are going inform you that their largest worry is that their baby goes to be misinterpreted, and that when they’re misinterpreted, that it might result in their hurt in a roundabout way.” 

The boy’s household has employed Calgary-based Higgerty Law for assist exploring authorized choices.

Hawthorne and Krause hope their son’s arrest helps guarantee there are strong coaching protocols for first responders, to make sure police and paramedics can acknowledge autism and different disabilities.

The couple mentioned Ryley’s arrest additionally demonstrates the necessity for extra group consciousness and empathy for individuals whose brains work otherwise from what is taken into account typical.

“How was he hurting anybody?” Hawthorne mentioned. “If something constructive can occur from this, I hope it is a catalyst for change.”


If somebody who’s struggling with self-harm, assist is offered. For extra data and sources go to http://www.sioutreach.org

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