Georgia police officers threw a wailing 10-year-old to the ground after he ran after them for arresting his daddy. Athens-Clarke County police were called to the home on domestic violence charges.
As the officers led the father away, the boy shouted, “Why Why He didn’t shoot nobody.”
“Every year, millions of kids in the United States witness the arrest of their parent or caretaker — primarily for domestic violence. This trauma often results in mistrust of officers,” said Doug Wylie, police trainer and member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, in a column on police interactions with children.
Considering the numerous reports of Black men being shot by police (18 percent of the shootings by police this year so far), fear of officers and what they do to Black men is legitimate.
Body cam footage released shows the boy continues to be upset in the background and then suddenly runs toward the officer. The officer catches the boy mid-air, pulls him to the ground and restrains him.
“Stop resisting, stop resisting,” the officer yells as he continues to restrain and and pulls out handcuffs.
The boy screams, cries and apologizes to the officer as his face is on the ground: “Sorry! Sorry, I don’t want to go to jail.”
Adults in the background can be heard shouting at the officer, asking why he would treat a child like that.
He later cries at the window of the police car. “When you get out, Daddy I love you.”
Watch video here:
Police are investigating the conduct of the officer.
A report compiled for the DOJ by Strategies for Youth, called “First, Do No Harm: Model Practices When Police Arrest Parents in the Presence of Children,” includes strategies officers could use to do their job and still protect children. These included making arrests less traumatic for children, ensure remaining guardians can protect children from harm in the aftermath of a parental arrest, and collaborate with social workers and child advocates to connect children to necessary support services.
In addition, certain things — like cuffing a parent in front of a child — are a huge “no, no.” Other police trainings say the way to calm the fears of a child is to explain in short sentences and simple words what is going on and why.