A 10-year-old boy from Mississippi was arrested for public urination after he was caught peeing behind his mother’s car. His mother, Latonya Eason, was at a lawyer’s office when a police officer informed her about the incident.
The boy, Quantavious, explained that he did it because his sister told him there was no restroom available. “I was like, ‘You knew better, you should have come and asked me if they had a restroom,’” Eason recalled telling her 10-year-old.
When she confronted the officer about her son’s public urination, she was told that he could simply receive a warning and return to the car. However, more police officers arrived, including a lieutenant who insisted that the boy be taken to jail, according to WHBQ.
Eason expressed her disagreement, acknowledging that her son’s behavior was wrong, but she felt the situation should have been handled differently and not escalated to an arrest. The 10-year-old boy was frightened when the police officer approached him for peeing in public. He started crying and felt scared as he was taken out of the car without understanding the situation. He expressed his fear of going to jail.
He was placed in a cell, though he wasn’t handcuffed, and was eventually released to his mother. The charge brought against him was a child in need of services, according to his mother. Eason expressed concern that her son’s arrest could have lasting emotional effects on him and might make him afraid of interactions with the police.
Senatobia Police Chief Richard Chandler referred to the state’s Youth Court Act, explaining that it permits law enforcement to make referrals for children as young as 7 if they require supervision or as young as 10 if they engage in actions that would be considered illegal for adults.
The police chief explained that the decision to take a child into custody depends on different factors and available options. He highlighted that in this case, an officer witnessed a 10-year-old engaging in an act in public that would be considered illegal for an adult. Chandler pointed out that the officer initially didn’t see a parent at the scene until later when the mother was found at a nearby establishment and informed that her child would receive a Youth Court Referral. Chandler however admitted that under these circumstances, transporting the child to the police station was a misjudgment since the mother was present at that time as a reasonable alternative.
He emphasized that such errors highlight the ongoing necessity for training and updates on the different situations encountered in the profession.