- Videos from bystanders and the Sacramento Police Department show officers handcuffing a struggling 12-year-old boy and placing a “spit mask” over his face in an altercation last month.
- The bystander’s video has since gone viral, sparking outrage at the level of force used against a small child.
- The Sacramento Police Department told INSIDER in a statement that the boy was later cited for battery against a police officer and resisting officers.
- The boy’s family has retained an attorney to represent them in a possible lawsuit against the city.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
A bystander’s video showing Sacramento police officers handcuffing a struggling 12-year-old boy and placing a “spit mask” on his face has gone viral, prompting authorities to release footage from the officers’ body cameras on Wednesday.
The bystander’s video, released by Black Lives Matter Sacramento on May 8, sparked outrage at the level of force used against a small child, who can be heard throughout the footage shouting and asking why he’s being handcuffed.
The Sacramento Police Department told INSIDER in a statement that the incident occurred on April 28, and the boy was later cited for battery against a police officer and resisting officers.
“Our officers involved in this incident appropriately used a spit mask to protect themselves and defuse the situation,” Chief Daniel Hahn said in the statement. “I am grateful that our officers were willing to proactively intervene when they observed suspicious activity, and that nobody was injured during this encounter.”
The footage from the officers’ body cameras shows that the incident began when officers rushed over to a security guard arguing with a boy and immediately began handcuffing the child.
“What is I’m under arrest for?” the boy yells repeatedly.
The officers can be heard in both videos asking the guard what the child had done. He explains that the boy was panhandling and “having people buy s— for him over in the Walgreens.”
As the officers and guard slowly drag the struggling boy toward a police vehicle, bystanders argue with the officers and tell them the boy’s parents should be there. In the officers’ footage, the boy can be heard spitting multiple times, as one officer curses and wipes her face.
“Yeah I spit on you,” the boy says. “How you like that s—?”
‘He’s a little bitty kid’
At one point, the security guard can be seen in the bystander’s video locking his arm around the child’s neck to restrain him.
“Hey hey hey, don’t be choking him like that,” the bystander shouts.
After struggling to force the boy into the police vehicle, the officers eventually push him to the pavement, where they pin him down on his stomach while he taunts them until another officer places a translucent, bag-like mask over the child’s face.
“Yeah I spit in your face, what you gonna do?” the boy asks.
“We’re gonna go to juvie, dude,” an officer responds.
The boy’s family may sue the city
The boy’s family has condemned the incident and retained an attorney, Mark Harris, to represent them in a possible lawsuit against the city.
“He’s a little bitty kid. None of this should have come down the way it did,” Harris told The Sacramento Bee. “He’s a small, slight kid, he’s under 4-foot-8 and he weighs less than 80 pounds.”
The child’s mother, Latoya Downs, told FOX40 she had arrived at the scene and feared her son would meet the same fate as Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old child a Cleveland police officer fatally shot in 2014.
“He was crying, he was scared. He was saying, ‘Mama, mama, they won’t let me go,'” Downs told FOX40. “I didn’t know it was gonna get this bad. I said, ‘I’m outraged. I don’t know what to do.'”
- Read more:
- An Alabama sheriff’s deputy is on leave after a social media post mocking the suicide of an LGBTQ teen
- John Legend slams Chicago’s police union in an op-ed, arguing it ‘poses a grave threat to this city’s safety’
- ‘This was an honest mistake’: A Pennsylvania police officer who shot a suspect with his gun instead of a Taser won’t face charges
- A woman in Cleveland was jailed over an unpaid traffic ticket. Corrections officers have been charged with strapping her to a chair for hours, punching her, and emptying half a can of pepper spray into her face.
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