Police forcefully restrained a young black boy in a video that went viral on social media over the weekend. The Athens-Clark County Police Department is investigating the incident, which happened on Friday, July 20.
In a press release posted on Monday, the department explained that the young boy was restrained during the course of a domestic violence arrest at his residence. The suspect was the boy’s father, whom police arrested on the scene.
Two videos of the incident were offered to the public: one posted by a family member on social media and another of the officer’s body cam.
Upon seeing his father in handcuffs, the 10-year-old became “extremely emotionally distraught,” according to the press release. Other adults at the scene attempted to restrain him but weren’t successful. The officer’s body cam footage shows the boy screaming, “Why? Why? He didn’t shoot nobody.”
At one point, the body cam video appears to show the officer bodyslamming the boy into the patrol car after the boy lunged at police in an apparent attempt to prevent them from taking his dad away. The press release explained from the officer’s perspective:
“Our officer caught the child in mid-air and the momentum of the child launching himself caused the both of them to land on the patrol car. The child continued to be emotionally distraught, and continued with the outburst, at which time our officer placed him on the ground.”
According to the report, officers worked to de-escalate the situation. They can be heard on the video explaining to the young boy that he won’t go to jail as long as he calms down. The boy is heard apologizing and the officer lets him up.
Eventually, the officers allowed the boy to go to his dad and retrieve a phone. At the end of the video, the boy can be seen patting his father’s head and saying, “When you get out, Daddy? I love you.”
The video posted by a family member tells a shorter story. Viewers can see an officer pinning the child to the ground with an arm twisted behind his back.
In the post, the family member wrote, “These mfs done slammed my lil cousin on the car first (the footage I didn’t get) then on the ground and he’s only 9.” She adds, “And FYI Eric didn’t do anything but was tryna talk to his dad who was in the police car. THAT’S IT!!!!!”
While the press release claims the boy lunged at officers, body cam footage doesn’t show definitive proof. The footage didn’t capture the moment after the child is seen jumping. There’s also no video of the officer catching the child mid-air. Instead, the top of the boy’s head can be seen as the officer yells, “Don’t do that.” The boy quietly responds, “Ok.”
While the police department is investigating the issue, the officers involved will not be placed on leave.