Five Black teens were walking just outside of The Shoppes at Bel Air in Mobile, Ala. They were there to buy clothes for the July 4 holiday.
But what was supposed to be a relaxing day of shopping for the teens quickly turned into a nightmare.
They were approached by a white police officer, who is employed by the security company Allied Universal. He got out of his car with his hand on his gun and immediately went “into attack mode,” according to the boys’ lawyer, L. Chris Stewart.
The officer shoved “the boys against the wall” and handcuffed them as more officers with the Mobile Police Department arrived to provide backup.
The police said they were responding to a fight – but the boys, ranging in ages 15 to 20, were just playing around.
Things escalated when 16-year-old Cameron Robinson accused the officers of racial profiling. That’s when the security officer slammed his head into the ground and sicced his attack dog on him, which bit Robinson in the arm. Robinson had to be hospitalized for two days.
“The Mall at Bel Air tried to kill five young boys mentally, and one physically,” Stewart told reporters.
Another lawyer who is helping to represent the group compared the attack to when police officers used dogs to attack African Americans during the Civil Rights movement.
“You have kids here with dogs being sicced on them like it’s 1957,” Miller told NBC News. “It’s ridiculous that this is still happening in 2019 in Mobile, Alabama. It’s ridiculous that it’s happening anywhere, but it’s definitely ridiculous to be happening in a mall in Mobile, Alabama.”
So far, none of the officers, including the security officer, have been reprimanded, but the five teens were slapped with multiple offences.
The police department told NBC News on Tuesday that they are allegedly conducting an investigation into the use of force and they will also review the mall’s security policy and procedures.
Stewart is planning to file a lawsuit this week in state court.