Police in America are once again facing scrutiny from the African-American community after footage of two officers pinning a 10-year-old boy to the ground went viral.
The video, posted on Facebook, showed two officers from the Athens-Clarke County Police Department in Georgia using heavy-handed restraining procedures on a young African-American child.
The incident took place last week, Friday (July 20) after police officers were called to a domestic violence call in Sartain Drive.
Since going viral, police released body camera footage and a brief statement on Monday afternoon trying to explain the situation. However, the video has gone on to be viewed an estimated 959K times and shared at least 39k times on Facebook.
Ariel Collins posted the video to Facebook with the caption:
These mfs done slammed my lil cousin on the car first (the footage I didn’t get) then on the ground and he’s only 9 #CHANNEL2 #11LIVE #FOX5 … and, FYI Eric didn’t do anything but was tryna talk to his dad who was in the police car. THAT’S IT!!!!! [sic]
According to CBS64 Eric became very emotional and was screaming for his father who was placed under arrest. Adult relatives attempted to restrain the child and told him to move away, but he came back near the officers. Police claim Eric lunged at the officers and one of them caught him and mid-air, which caused them to land on a patrol car, he was then put on the ground when outbursts continued.
Police spokesman Epifanio Rodriguez said in a statement:
As the suspect was being placed in the back of the patrol car, the video clearly shows the child run past family members and again ran towards our officer and lunged at one of the officers. Our officer caught the child in midair and the momentum of the child launching himself caused the both of them to land on the patrol car.
The officer was giving him firm verbal commands to stop resisting, to stop fighting and at the same time he had three subjects who were advancing as he was trying to get this ten year-old under control.
When the boy eventually calmed down police unrestrained him, Rodriguez went on to say:
Our officer began to console the child and helped him to understand what was happening to his father. The child asked to speak with his father and was allowed to do so by our officers.
However, according to the boys family, they believe the police could have handled the situation a lot better.
Eric’s grandfather, Harry Jones, said:
They need extra training, especially when it comes to a child, they need to know how to treat people’s kids.
The two officers seen in the video are still on duty while the chief of police calls for an internal investigation into the incident.
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