Mom says police news release wrong

Cites witness reports about altercation involving son, police decline further comment.

A mother says she wants to set the record straight regarding a news release issued by Salmon Arm RCMP concerning an altercation involving her son.

Janine Nixon Kalke provided the Salmon Arm Observer with a written report regarding the Monday, Aug. 7 incident, which she says was gleaned from witnesses.

Nixon Kalke states the articles and comments on social media have been very disturbing.

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“The articles that have been published and put on social media are absolutely sickening and there are so many people saying that my son got what he deserved. Under no circumstances should an adult EVER assault a child. And yes 14 is still a child. My son is a very good kid…, she writes. “He’s very polite and any adult that knows him will agree to that.”

The police news release, issued by Staff Sgt. Scott West, said the youth and a 37-year-old man “had a verbal altercation at a local fast food restaurant after the 15-year-old allegedly elbowed the adult male in the back.”

Neither the youth nor the adult were named in the news release.

Regarding the incident at McDonald’s, Nixon Kalke writes: “My son apparently bumped this man without even knowing it (it’s a busy place with a small lobby). The man proceeded to verbally attack my son. My son did not back down and did verbally fight back. I do have to say that my son did push this man to get him out of his face… I heard from a witness that the guy was trying to get my son to come out into the parking lot…

“There are many witnesses that can attest to what happened there.”

Nixon Kalke clarifies that her son is 14, not 15, a fact that West corrected via email when the Observer asked him for comment on the mother’s statement. Other than the age correction, West wrote that he would provide “no further comment.”

The police release stated that after a verbal altercation, the two parted ways, but the man drove by the youth a short time later. There, one of the youths in a group yelled at the car the adult was in, the police report said. The adult stopped and words were exchanged, which escalated into a physical altercation in the area of 28th Street NE and Ninth Avenue NE.

Nixon Kalke disputes this version, which she says doesn’t match what witnesses have said.

“The version that has been released is coming from the adults’ side,” she writes. “There were witnesses that all said that my son did nothing wrong and most definitely did not call at the car as it drove by.

“The car stopped somewhat behind my child on a deserted street as my son was walking home with his 12-year-old cousin and two girls. The man proceeded to jump out of the car and yell at my son, telling him that he’s not so tough without his buddies…and then proceeded to throw him on the ground and repeatedly punch and kick him,” Nixon Kalke states.

“My son happened to be wearing a backpack which protected his back from kicks and was smart enough to crawl into the fetal position to protect his face. The girls who were with him were absolutely terrified and ran and called 911.”

The police reported that the boy was taken to hospital with what police believed at the time to be minor scrapes and bruises.

“The RCMP investigation into this matter did result in identifying the adult male who was taken into custody and interviewed by the Salmon Arm RCMP,” stated the release. “The adult was released on court process to appear in court at a later date once Provincial Crown has an opportunity to review the case.”

Crown counsel decides whether and which charges will be laid.

Regarding comments on social media about the incident, the news release stated police would be looking into the comments and would conduct an investigation to determine if charges regarding them are warranted.

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