A third year native studies student said he was disturbed to see multiple campus security staff aggressively detaining a minor in a bus shelter on the Fort Garry campus last week.
Jack Theis said he was waiting for a bus around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and was shocked to see a female Indigenous minor on the ground surrounded by several campus security officers.
He said the youth appeared intoxicated but he was surprised by the number of officers involved.
“I can’t imagine her causing a lot of damage,” he said. “She’s a small child. She’s not tall or anything like that.”
A spokesperson for Winnipeg police confirmed that a youth was arrested and charged with being intoxicated. Police were called in response to a female acting erratically, screaming and breaking glass, he said. She was detained and taken to the Manitoba Youth Centre.
Theis said he saw security follow the youth on to and back off of a city bus.
Multiple security staff then followed her in and out of the Isbister building before she apparently struck one with a toque and was detained and handcuffed by security, he said.
U of M spokesperson John Danakas said in a statement that campus security handled the situation appropriately.
“Security services staff followed appropriate protocols in dealing with this situation, putting first the safety of the individual and the safety of others,” he said.
“The response was congruent with the reports made by several people who expressed concern about an escalating and potentially dangerous situation.”
“The minor’s safety was as much a priority, as was the safety of those in the immediate vicinity,” he added. “The situation was stabilized so that [police] could take the necessary actions.”
Theis said he followed security staff while they followed the girl around campus out of concern for her wellbeing. According to police, “Some minor force was used to get her into the car.” She was medically cleared by Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service before being transported off campus.
Theis noted the youth did not respond well to the presence of both himself and the male security guards, noting she became even more overwhelmed when two white male police officers arrived.
“There was a very obvious difference in how she was reacting to the female security officer, in my opinion,” he said.
“Every time the guys touched her, she freaked out.”
Danakas said the university will not be releasing any further details of the incident.