A viral TikTok clip showing a reported off-duty police officer pinning down a 14-year-old while in plain clothes went viral.
The clip was uploaded by user @thenicolenieves, the mother of the young man being held down in the video. Text overlay reads: “This is MY 14-year-old Puerto Rican son in the orange shirt being pinned down by a white, off-duty police officer.” In the caption, Nicole writes, “Nothing can prepare a mother’s heart for this.”
@thenicolenieves 💔💔💔 Nothing can prepare a mother’s heart for this… #injustice #racialinjustice #policebrutalityawareness #racialprofiling #icantbreathe #brownlivesmatter #blm #chicagopolicedepartment ♬ original sound – Marketing ✶ Biz║The Brand Vibe
In the clip, several teen boys tell the officer to “get off” of the young man and help him to his feet. They constantly tell the man to “get your hands off him” as they attempt to separate the 14-year-old from the officer.
The video then cuts to a note from Nicole that reads: “Nothing prepares you for this day. One minute, you’re cooking dinner… the next, you’re getting a call from your 14-year-old son, stumbling over his words through hysterical tears, saying, “Mom, please come pick me up…”
She continued, “You drop everything. Pray feverishly for his safety as you race to be with him. 4 police cars. Streets closed. 6 officers. At least 100 people around.”
She adds, “And our sweet, God-fearing, Park Ridge honor student-who also happens to be a brown boy with afro-hair standing in a sea of light faces…Confused. Crying. Scared. Shocked. Completely surrounded by a mass of onlookers…[staring] at him, [staring] at me. And that’s when I saw this video….”
The text continues, “Footage of my 14-year-old child—face down, wide eyed, no shoes, knee in his back, gasping for breath, arms locked—being pinned down by a white, unidentified, off-duty Chicago police officer. He was not in uniform. He was not on duty. The allegation? Theft of his son’s bike—even though my son had his own bike present. This adult did not use words—he used force; he used his hands. Grabbed our son’s wrists, body slammed him, then held him down with his knee to forcibly restrain him. Teenagers yelling… trying to pull him up to no avail…”
Nicole continued to write in her notes that although she spoke with her “3 Puerto Rican boys about this moment for years” she wasn’t emotionally prepared to see this video of the aftermath of what transpired. She also thanked the boys who helped her son and apologized that they had to witness this first-hand.
She urged folks to share the story on social media and posted a follow-up TikTok calling out racial profiling and police brutality against not just her son, but many people of color all across America. She’s also posted several other TikTok videos to bring light to the situation and was overwhelmed by community support who tied orange ribbons around their houses and trees to show support for the young man.
@thenicolenieves 🧡🧡🧡 The fight is only beginnng… Yesterday, we held a press conference + released this statement // To say we are humbled by the support we’ve received is an understatement // United we stand 👉🏽 #NotInMyTown #GetOffMe // @thenicolenieves #racialinjustice #injustice #policebrutalityawareness #racialprofiling #icantbreathe #brownlivesmatter #blm #chicagopolicedepartment ♬ original sound – Marketing ✶ Biz║The Brand Vibe
Incidents like these are a common concern for parents of children of color. NBC News reports that “Black people are twice as likely as white people to be shot and killed by police officers.” The Washington Post also penned that “Latinos are disproportionately killed by police” and while the outlet showed that more white US citizens were killed based on a smaller population sampling size over a period of time that “Black and Latino people are killed at a much higher rate.”
Users who saw Nicole’s video were furious, with many urging the mom to pursue legal action against the officer, along with the police department he serves. It’s unclear as to whether or not the city of Chicago will be held liable for the officer’s actions, as the actions of off-duty cops seem to be tried on a case-by-case basis.
Viewers were shocked by the video and encouraged Nicole to take legal action.
One user said, “Please tell me you are pressing charges.”
Another commenter said, “THAT WAS ASSAULT AND THAT COP SHOULD BE CHARGED HE WAS NOT ON DUTY.”
A third user asked, “Has the police officer been identified????”
One commenter noted, “And only kids stuck up for him while adults stood there.”
Another user added, “lawyer up don’t stop fighting for justice this country doesn’t practice what they preach.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to @thenicolenieves for further comment on TikTok.
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