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Family of wrongfully arrested Black boy says meeting with police didn't go as hoped

Last Updated May 31, 2021 at 8:44 pm MDT

CALGARY — A rough takedown of an innocent 12-year-old boy at a Calgary playground has his family asking for justice after they say a meeting with the officer following the incident didn’t go as they hoped.

“The police officer — he didn’t apologize. And that did really, really make me more upset. The other police officers, they apologized. But the guy that did arrest Kobe, he really didn’t even feel sorry,” said Kobe Amadi’s mom, Joice Walter.

Adam Massiah, who is helping Kobe and his mother through the process, says an apology would have been enough.

“All anybody wanted out of this conversation was an apology, which they haven’t received yet,” Massiah said.

In a video following the meeting between the family and the officer, the officer explained he had no clue that’s what the family was looking for.

“I personally wasn’t aware that the family wanted an apology from me,” he said. “I am totally sorry about what took place. That was completely offside.”

The officer explained he arrested Amadi while looking for a group of young thieves. They followed a suspect to the playground.

READ MORE: Calgary police regret detaining innocent boy at playground

They arrested him there, then grabbed Amadi because they say he was the same size as one of the thieves they were looking for and was wearing a grey hoodie. Amadi says he didn’t resist, but he looked back at one point and that’s when the officer took him down.

Amadi says he was left with bruises, scars, and nightmares after the case of mistaken identity.

“Even though we’re all black, we’re not all criminals. There are some bad people but most of us are good,” said Kobe. “It scarred me. I feel a little better, but it’s just scarred there forever.”

Massiah says the whole situation is concerning.

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“Kobe is a very intellectual young man,” he said. “He cuts hair in his community, helps raise money for his family. He does well in school. He’s creative. He’s also a musician. He’s doing all the right things to stay on the right path, to stay away from interactions with the police. But it seems as if, time and time again, these interactions still continue to be brought toward our Black youth when they don’t deserve it at all.”

In a statement to CityNews, Calgary police say initial reviews show the officers were acting in good faith. They say it was never their intention to traumatize Amadi — and they wanted to connect and comfort him. They say they also met with the Calgary African Community Collective earlier this month and are building on their anti-racism strategy.

Kobe, his mother, and Massiah are calling for change in how frontline officers interact with the community. The family plans to file an official police complaint.

“I think it’s important that, with incidents like this, officers are held accountable for their actions,” said Massiah.