The mother of an 11-year-old boy, who was handcuffed and detained by police for allegedly stealing a bike, said the incident has left her son emotionally scarred. According to WFTV Orlando, the incident occurred in Apopka, Florida last week.
The Apopka Police Department said officers responded to a scene after someone called to report a robbery. Upon arrival, 11-year-old Jamir Bradford was picked out for allegedly punching a person and stealing another individual’s bike.
But Jamir’s family disputes the allegations. And a video of the incident shows his family asking the officers to release the juvenile.
Jamir’s mother, Melani Brown, said her son was in the neighborhood riding a bike when a truck caught up with him and identified him as the person who had stolen a bike. Brown said responding officers later handcuffed him after questioning him at a park. The officers, however, released him after they scrutinized the bike.
Brown also told WESH that the bike actually belonged to her son. “He was arrested, handcuffed and charged with robbery and battery for riding his own bicycle,” she said, adding that the incident has negatively affected her son.
“He said ‘Mommy, when I seen the officer with his hand on his gun, I wanted to run.’ I said, ‘For what? You did nothing wrong,’” Brown said.
And though Jamir was released without any charges filed against him, his mother said she believes he has pending charges. There were also no records of any charges brought against Jamir after checks at the juvenile court.
“How do charges just disappear?” John Barnett, a national civil rights activist, asked.
Apopka police said an administrative review into the arrest has been launched. Brown also said she wants officers to receive adequate training on how to handle incidents involving children.
Per Florida’s law, police officers are prohibited from arresting minors who are under six years old, WFTV Orlando reported. Sen. Randolph Bracy had initially advocated for the age range to fall within 12 and under.
The law in question was passed following the backlash that ensued after a six-year-old girl was handcuffed in September 2019 for disruptive behavior in school, Face2Face Africa reported at the time.