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Race

Police handcuff 10-year-old playing outside, accuse him of having a gun

June 8, 2018

This week in Chicago, footage of CPD handcuffing 10-year-old boy Michael Thomas Jr. was released documented what his family believes was a case of mistaken identity. In a video taken last Friday night and on it police can be seen handcuffing Thomas after receiving, what police say, were multiple calls of a 10-12-year-old with a gun in this particular area. Police say that Thomas momentarily attempted to flea upon initial approach.

In the footage, Thomas’ uncle and grandmother can be heard pleading for the young boy’s release. “You can see that he doesn’t have any weapons on him,” his grandmother can be heard.” “I raised up my grandbaby’s shirt. He don’t have anything on him. Take those handcuffs off of him.”

“They’re telling them that someone called them saying that there is a 12-year-old black kid on a bike with all blue on had a gun,” an uncle, Victor, is heard saying in the video. “There was about five little black boys with all blue on.”

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, a black man, supported his officer’s brutalization of a minor saying that he can understand the trauma his family must have felt during the experience. But is that just supposed to be the price black citizens pay in this country?

“The call came out as a young man, 10 to 12 years old, that was passing out a gun. And the description fully matched the individual that they stopped,” he said. “Now keep in mind, it is difficult for an officer to tell right off the bat if you’re 10 years old, 12 years old, 14 — that’s just difficult to do. So they handcuffed the kid for safety reasons because he did match that description.”

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