It looks like even walking in a park has become a crime for the African Americans living in President Donald Trump’s increasingly racist and xenophobic America.
In what appears to be the latest incident of a white person calling cops to make a false claim against person of color, Minneapolis Park Police handcuffed four black teenagers in Minnehaha Regional Park and pulled a gun on them after a 911 caller falsely claimed the kids had a weapon.
Facebook user Brianna Lindell, the witness who recorded the episode and uploaded it on social media, explained she had seen a white young man “spouting racial slurs at them and aggressing them with a metal trash can lid and saying he had a knife,” while a “girl with him was on her phone.” Lindell believe the girl called the police.
She also added onlookers were already trying to “deescalate the situation.” According to reports, two of the four kids were 13-years-old while the other two were 14 and 16-years-old. Two of them were already in the back of the police car when Lindell began filming.
“Two of the children were handcuffed and in front of the squad car. One was begging for his shirt on the ground because he was being bitten by mosquitoes,” the woman wrote. “My partner tossed him his shirt and a cop jumped out of the squad car and started yelling at us that we were interfering with an arrest. I asked the cop why he was arresting the kids as they’d done nothing wrong and he said they had received a call that the kids had a gun.”
Although an officer told Lindell the boys, who were handcuffed, were “not under arrest,” some onlookers told her “both cops had jumped out of their cars, guns already drawn, with the guns right in the children’s faces” – a fact that the police department later confirmed.
According to the official statement, a 911 caller “reported four males holding knives and sticks.” They stated “one suspect said he had a gun in his backpack” and “the suspects were assaulting the 911 caller’s boyfriend.”
Police also clarified none of the boys were armed.
The kids were shortly released and the case is now under investigation.
“The children in the video are safe and with their families,” Minneapolis Park Board President Brad Bourn said in a statement posted on Facebook. “The best thing the Park Board can do is invest in our kids and provide them a fun, positive, structured activities to engage in. For the last decade, investment in our youth has been virtually stagnant.”
Meanwhile, the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) also issued a statement claiming the teens were targeted because they were Somali.
There must be an immediate independent and transparent investigation of this potentially-deadly police response to and allegedly false report targeting minority youth,” said CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein.
All of our city’s kids should be able to play in our parks w/o fearing for their safety. I'm glad that @MplsParkBoard members and MPB Police Chief Ohotto are investigating the validity of the 911 call that led to this incident, which compromised what parks should be for our kids. https://t.co/6zXSGSQbzE— Jacob Frey (@Jacob_Frey) July 12, 2018
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