A video of police putting a young Black boy in a police vehicle over an allegedly stolen bag of chips went viral on Tuesday.
The person who recorded the video appeared to have just happened upon the scene, which involved at least three Syracuse Police Department (SPD) officers putting a boy into a squad car, as another child stood by.
The boy screams, cries, and tries to get away, as the man recording asks what is going on and tells the officers to stop.
“He look like a baby to me,” the man says.
“He’s stealing stuff,” a cop says. “Keep walking, dude. You don’t even know what you’re talking about.”
A single bag of chips is on the ground nearby. The other boy present at one point screams at the cops that the other kid didn’t steal, while the man recording offers to pay for the chips if that is the issue. “I’ll pay for them,” the man says.
Another man shows up and tells police that the boy looks too young to legally be arrested, likely referring to a recently passed law that prohibits children under the age of 12 from being arrested and prosecuted in New York under most circumstances, barring homicide. However, the law doesn’t take effect until next year.
The video ends with the boy screaming from the back of the police vehicle.
On Facebook, the SPD said in a statement it is reviewing the incident.
“We are aware of a video being shared on social media involving several of our Officers and juveniles accused of stealing from a store on the City’s northside. The incident, including the Officers’ actions and body-worn cameras, are being reviewed. There is some misinformation involving this case. The juvenile suspected of larceny was not placed in handcuffs. He was placed in the rear of a patrol unit where he was directly brought home. Officers met with the child’s father and no charges were filed,” it wrote.
It went viral on both Reddit and Twitter Tuesday.
It’s unclear when exactly the incident took place, or what happened with the child involved. Attempts documented by Twitter users to learn more from the SPD were unproductive.
“They traumatized that little boy over a bag of chips? Unbelievable,” one Twitter user said.
Redditors also brought up the idea of adultification bias, where Black kids are often viewed as older, and therefore “less innocent,” than white kids.
The Daily Dot reached out to SPD via Facebook.
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