A small African-American boy was handcuffed by police officers for allegedly throwing rocks and playing with a toy gun.
On June 29, police officials got a call from a woman reporting juveniles throwing rocks and playing with a toy gun. The caller said the child with the orange-tipped gun had used it to shoot her son in the buttocks and said other children had thrown rocks at her vehicle and house, maybe even breaking one of her windows.
In the video, an officer exited the vehicle when he saw the child with the toy gun and ordered him to drop it. The young boy complied and dropped his gun. However, the officer still told him to put his hands behind his back and then handcuffed him. He then seated the boy in his patrol car while he went and looked for the boy’s parents.
Police said the families of both the children involved gave different versions of the events that occurred that day. The boy with the toy gun and his mother were allowed to go home after police officers gathered information from a neighbor and surmised no harm was done to the caller’s child or her house.
According to the Facebook page of Freedom Fighters Upstate SC, who posted the video online, the young boy has good grades and “plays basketball, football, baseball and runs track.” Regardless of the child’s impressive academic record and athletic prowess, it is completely unacceptable that police officers perceived a 9-year-old as a threat and treated him like a common criminal.
Even after the boy dropped his toy gun — which was not a firearm in the first place — these trained, grown men felt fit to handcuff him and place him inside their patrol car.
The case seems quite similar to that of Tamir Rice — the 12-year-old African-American boy who was shot dead by a police officer, Timothy Loehmann, while he was playing with a plastic toy gun.
Thankfully, this one did not come to a violent and tragic end.
However, incidents like these should be embarrassment for police departments because if their officers think 9-year-old children playing with toys are dangerous, then they clearly have not been trained well.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters