Video captured police handcuffing a 10-year-old boy outside of his grandmother’s Chicago on Friday (June 1) after they mistakenly accused him of being a juvenile runaway with a firearm.
According to NBC, Michael Thomas Jr. ran when police approached him. Once apprehended, he was handcuffed while being asked about a gun. Police say they had received multiple calls from the area about a boy in his age range with a gun.
In the video, the fourth grader looks terrified while speaking to the authorities; he cries and even wets his pants trying to explain he is unarmed. His uncle, Victor, can be heard on the footage confronting the officers. The boy’s grandmother raised his shirt to prove he didn’t have a weapon. ” You can see that he doesn’t have any weapons on him,” she says in the footage. “I raised up my grandbaby’s shirt. He don’t have anything on him. Take those handcuffs off of him.” Despite that, witnesses say, the cuffs were not removed for about 15 minutes. ”
The clip sparked outrage as it began circulating on social media and Starr Ramsey, Thomas Jr.’s mother, believes the incident has traumatized her son. However, Newsweek reports that Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson is defending the two cops. He said the police “followed all of the rules and protocols,” at a meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday (June 6).
He added: “Keep in mind, this is difficult for an officer to tell right off the bat if you’re 10 years old, 12 years old [or] 14. … So they handcuffed the kid for safety reasons because he did match that description. They followed all the rules and protocols that we have in place. So I’m not concerned about that at all.”
Ramsey is demanding answers about the encounter.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.