A 13-year-old boy who was filmed in handcuffs for allegedly assaulting a Metro Transit Police officer drew criticism from bystanders as well as social media as they felt the juvenile did not pose any threat.
According to WAMU, the incident occurred on Thursday night at the Shaw-Howard U Metro station in Washington, D.C., and was recorded by Howard University student Donroy Ferdinand.
“I was upset,” he said. “I was not happy seeing a black kid who looks like me when I was that age in handcuffs. So I was just trying to figure out what was going on.”
Also speaking to WUSA, Ferdinand said: “The first thing I noticed when we first walked up is that this kid was in tears and that he was handcuffed. And, that was honestly heartbreaking to me to see a young black kid like myself in a situation like that. I can’t imagine the pain and trauma he must have felt in that situation.”
In the video, the juvenile can be seen visibly shaking.
“I asked him, are you OK?,” Ferdinand continued. “And he couldn’t even come to words to answer me, which I thought again was tragic, and all he did was shake his head no, tears in his eyes.”
Per the incident report, the boy and his friend were approached by two officers for getting on a train after grabbing each other in what appeared to be a physical altercation. The boys, however, claimed they were “just playing,” WAMU reports.
The report alleged that one of the boys refused to identify himself and provide contact details of his parent which the officers claim they needed to allow them get in touch with the said parent to report the incident.
The report further alleged that the boy then stood up and went ahead to push an officer who got closer to him. He was notified he had assaulted the officer and a scuffle ensued during an attempt to handcuff him. He was put on the ground and then handcuffed with the help of another officer.
The video footage, however, shows the juvenile denying the accusations. According to WAMU, another officer who reported to the scene but claimed he did not witness the incident justified why the juvenile was put in handcuffs.
“He just admitted, when he stepped on the officer’s foot, that’s an assault,” the officer said. “Once he assaulted the officer, yeah, you go in handcuffs. Once he stepped on the officer, he assaulted the officer.”
“I can appreciate that you are very concerned, I hear it, I understand, you’re confused about what’s going on. I’m confused about what’s going on.”
Ferdinand as well as other bystanders can also be heard questioning the motive behind handcuffing the juvenile.
The boy was subsequently transported to the hospital for treatment though the bystanders raised questions as to why they weren’t going to be accompanied. The incident report also alleged that the boy continued his aggression in the hospital where he kicked an officer who tried restraining him on a bed, according to WAMU.
Speaking to the Washington Post, the juvenile’s mother said he spent the night at D.C.’s juvenile processing center but isn’t sure if “they’re going to charge him or if he’s going to do a diversion program or what right now.”
“They’re still gathering all the information,” she added.
The Office of Professional Responsibility and Integrity for the Metro Transit Police released a statement to WAMU after the video was shared announcing it was going to review the incident as citizen’s complaint.
“There were no citizen complaints received outside of social media or from the respondent’s family,” the spokeswoman said.
The officers are still on full-time duty.