NY officers under fire for putting 8-year-old accused of stealing bag of crisps in police car
"Why would the police treat that child like that?"
Officers in New York have come under fire for putting a distressed 8-year-old boy in a police car after he was accused of shoplifting a bag of Doritos.
A bystander's video, which has since gone viral, seemingly shows officers in Syracuse, NY, apprehend the crying boy by grabbing his arms and marching him to the vehicle.
Kenneth Jackson filmed the incident on Sunday, alarmed by the officers' response to a call they received accusing the child of stealing the packet of crisps from a shop in the city.
In the footage, Jackson can be heard asking the cops what they're doing as the boy appears to be visibly shaken up and sobbing.
"Guess. Take a guess what I'm doing," one officer replies. Another officer can be heard saying something about stealing.
Jackson continues: "What'd he steal — a bag of chips? You're treating him like a whole cold-blooded f**king killer. I seen you snatch him up off his bike like he's a grown ass man."
Jackson also offers to pay for the Doritos in the clip, pleading with the officers to leave the boy alone. "He's just a kid," he says as they put the boy into the car.
Syracuse police really ? Over a bag of chips ? He’s just a kid. pic.twitter.com/DNOwcuUsvf
— HUNNDO 444 (@HunndoHefner) April 18, 2022
Syracuse.com reports that after leaving the scene, the officers dropped the boy and his two brothers off at their home.
The boys' father, Anthony Weah, told the outlet that while police explained his son was accused of shoplifting, the interaction was friendly and no charges were pressed. He was later outraged to see the footage of how the officers treated his boy.
"Why would the police treat that child like that?" he said. "Over a $3 bag of chips."
Syracuse police say the child was never handcuffed. Weah confirmed his son came home without a mark on him, though stated he wants to file a complaint against the officers.
The dad, who is originally from Ethiopia, said what his son did was wrong but didn't warrant that response from grown men.
"The policemen, they are not children. They are not boys, they’re men," Weah told the publication, adding that he was grateful for Jackson's recording of the incident and attempts at standing up for the boys.
Jackson said he was out running errands when he saw police pulling someone off a bike, initially not realising it was a child.
He got snatched off that bike. The bike hit the ground and chips went everywhere," he told Syracuse.com. "It was just beyond me that they were actually treating this baby like this."
He continued: "There’s other ways to rectify this besides scare tactics. Now that’s just another youth that’s scarred by the system."
At the time of writing, Jackson's video has received over 5.9 million views on Twitter and hundreds of thousands of views on Facebook.
Thousands of viewers have condemned the police's handling of the situation and questioned why three grown men would apprehend a child in such a way.
The fact that all three officers were white and the 8-year-old boy was Black has also drawn comparisons to the history of racial injustice in policing, both in the state of New York and nationwide.
The incident is now under review by the police department.