An investigation is underway following an incident where a Georgia police officer physically restrained a crying 10-year-old child whose father had just been arrested.
The incident began at 6:30pm last Friday when officers arrested a man, who was suspected of domestic violence, at his house. In bodycam footage provided by the police department, the man can be seen calmly listening to the officer explain the situation, as his 10-year-old wails and attempts to get close to him. He tells his son to “chill out” several times while family members attempt to hold him back and convince him to go in the house.
Throughout the video, the child can be heard screaming and crying, at one point yelling, “What’s he getting locked up for?” The family members’ attempts to hold him back are unsuccessful, and as the boy’s father is being put in the police car, he can be seen running past officers and jumping into the air. What happens immediately following is not caught on any camera, but in a statement released by Athens-Clarke County Police Department, they say the boy “lunged at one of the officers.”
What bodycam footage does show is the officer yelling at family members to “back off” as he lifts the 10-year-old up into the air, and slams him on the ground. He yells at the child to calm down while the child repeatedly apologizes, and cries, asking if he’s going to jail. The officer replies every time that he’s not going to jail. The department’s statement characterizes this as an attempt to “de-escalate the situation.” The officers eventually let the child up after he has calmed down, and allow him to speak with his father.
Video Released to Media Regarding Child Being Restrained
Video released to media at July 23, 2018 press conference regarding a child being restrained by an ACCPD officer. Please note the child's name was redacted in the audio portion of the program, resulting in silent sections.Posted by Athens-Clarke County Police Department on Monday, July 23, 2018
One of the family members present also recorded video of the police holding the child on the ground, but it has since been removed from Facebook. According to BuzzFeed News, her post said, in part, “These mfs done slammed my lil cousin on the car first (the footage I didn’t get) then on the ground.” She also wrote that the child was only trying to talk to his dad, in contradiction to the officers’ claims.
Neither of the involved officers have been placed on administrative leave, and are both returning to active duty. However, due to the involvement of a minor, the county attorney is reviewing the footage. The police department is also conducting an internal investigation.
H/T BuzzFeed News