An off-duty Durham Region police officer has been charged with harassment after an incident with a 10-year-old female Ayr hockey player on Nov. 30 at a tournament in Pittsburgh.
In a video supplied by the Pittsburgh Elite Girls Thanksgiving Classic tournament, Ayr Rockets Brooklyn Janzen was skating through the handshake line at the opposing bench of the Clarington Flames when she fell. Her parents contest she was struck and knocked down by the Flames assistant coach. In the video, the coach’s arm is obscured by another coach.
Craig Janzen, Brooklyn’s father, said the she explained to him “that she felt him hit her in the chest area with what she thought was his hand and felt his fingers push into her throat”.
Vanessa Janzen, Brooklyn’s mother, previously told the Times that Clarington coaches told tournament organizers Brooklyn was shaking hands aggressively, so the coach in question was going to stand his ground when she bumped fists with him. When she hit his hand, her hand bounced back and knocked her off balance.
After an investigation by Robert Morris University campus police, where the game took place, Jonathan Potts, the university’s vice-president of public relations and marketing, said the charge had been filed and the case has been turned over to Allegheny County district court.
Potts wouldn’t reveal details from the investigation, but did add harassment is a “summary charge,” the lowest level of criminal charge in Pennsylvania. A guilty plea would bring a fine, he said.
After the incident, which was caught on video, Durham police was informed and details were turned over to the service’s professional standards branch for an investigation.
Const. George Tudos, media officer with Durham Region police, said there are no updates on the investigation. Police wouldn’t reveal the officer’s name.
Craig said he was thankful the off-duty officer was charged.
“Although it doesn’t seem like a charge that fits the crime, the definition of harassment does include assault,” he said, adding that his daughter and the team have seemed to move past the incident.