The Los Angeles County Sherriff’s office is under fire after a video posted to social media showed deputies detaining three black teenagers. The trio went from being victims of armed robbery to the target of police brutality.
The incident happened on Friday in Santa Clarita about 35 miles north of L.A.
Tammi Collins, mother of one of the teens shared the footage of the incident on Instagram. According to her, her 16-year-old son and his two friends were being attacked by a homeless man at a bus stop.
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I wanted to share what happened to my son yesterday in SCV when he was with a couple of friends sitting at a bus stop headed home. He was attacked by a gentleman (homeless guy) who approached them and first asked them if they had any crack then tried to take their things. The guy became so aggressive that he took his shirt off pulled out a knife and whip them tried to stabbed them. His friends only had their skate boards to cover them from the knife and whip so they held it out to keep distance from this guy. Several bystanders including the restaurant manager of Buffalo Wild wings called the police to get help for the boys but “One” caller called the police and reported two black guys are attacking a homeless guy. This is how the police responded. This is something my son and his friends will never forget. I’m still wonder how will I ever help my son recover from this traumatic experience. Please pray for my family. Please Share to protect our kids!!!
However, after multiple calls to authorities by bystanders for their help, when the police arrived they pointed guns at the teens and arrested them.
The 11-minute video Collins posted showed at least three deputies pointing their guns at the teens — including one deputy who had a long gun. The teens obeyed the deputies’ commands, back up with their hands up, and knelt on the ground to be handcuffed, The Associated Press reported.
“This is how the police responded. This is something my son and his friends will never forget. I’m still wondering how will I ever help my son recover from this traumatic experience. Please pray for my family,” Collins wrote.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff, Alex Villanueva, said on Monday that the tactics deployed by the deputies to detain the teens was disturbing and that the incident is being investigated.
My statement regarding the recent video involving a call for service in Santa Clarita. The matter is being investigated & we will provide updates as they become available. pic.twitter.com/yu1ZCXtVKz— Alex Villanueva (@LACoSheriff) August 10, 2020
“The response was overboard and too aggressive,” Derrick Gray, the father of one of the teens, told CBS Los Angeles.
“I was thinking to myself, ‘Thank God my boy didn’t flinch, or whatever, scratch or whatever,’” Lisa Gray said of her son. “Because I felt like all he needed to see was for them to move an inch.”
Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth said in a statement Monday, “we are aware that a full investigation is underway regarding the level of response by the deputies.
“We have asked that the review be expedited and any necessary actions be taken. In addition, we have asked that the deputy be removed from the field pending the outcome of the investigation.”