Violent incidents at the Victoria Park skating rink have led to four youths being arrested, and many witnesses questioning whether they will return.
Vanessa Armstrong was there for one of the incidents.
“It was like a Twilight Zone, like it was out of nowhere. These kids were now punching parents in the face, young girls.”
Armstrong was there Sunday evening when she took four youths on an outing from the therapeutic care residence she works for in Parkhill.
“All of a sudden there was this huge brawl on the ground that was happening all over the rink, like these older teenage boys that were joining in with…this younger group of children and hitting women and children.”
London police were called to the scene
Const. Sandasha Bough said, “Two teenage females sustained minor injuries as a result of the incident and four youths were arrested by police. One female was 11 years of age and therefore was not charged in relation to the incident.”
Once Armstrong’s account was posted online, more people started coming forward about similar incidents, like Hannah Vandaele and Nolan Armstrong, who were at the rink Friday evening.
Vandaele explained, “And they kept trying to walk into you, you know, it’s like a circle of skaters. They kept trying to walk into the skaters. And so eventually I’m skating by one of them and she started backing up and almost hit me.”
Armstrong added, “They’re like 14, 13 swearing, and one told me to put my dukes up and call me the N-word. I’m like, what are you talking about?”
The City of London did not wish to be interviewed, but responded to a request for comment via email.
“The rink in Victoria Park is supervised by city staff and there is security on site as well. On Saturday night, security staff were involved and we are working with London Police Service in relation to this incident.”
The youths arrested on Sunday evening have not been charged, as police chose a different route based on the ages of the offenders, Bough explained.
“Police considered and ultimately put the other three, two males and one female through what’s called the diversion program through St. Leonard’s Society..an excellent program that brings together the offender, the victim and the community, and it holds people responsible and accountable just as much as the court system.”
City Hall says it will review the circumstances at the rink at Victoria Park and will enhance security measure if necessary.