Spartanburg, SC — A video posted to social media over the weekend caused heavy backlash for the Spartanburg police department which prompted them to release body cam video of the same incident. The videos show a 9-year-old boy being handcuffed and placed in a police cruiser for allegedly throwing rocks and playing with a toy gun.
The two videos highlight the importance of being truthful when sharing evidence of alleged police misconduct and the damage done by those out to spread false information.
The incident happened on June 29, when police were dispatched to a neighborhood over a 911 call about some children throwing rocks and playing with a toy gun.
The caller told dispatchers that the child with the orange-tipped toy gun shot her son in the buttocks and also threw rocks at her home.
The stories from both parents differed greatly.
Prior to police releasing the body cam footage, the following video was posted online with the subsequent description:
Very disturbing video. This happened in Spartanburg SC. We were told that this 11 year old boy was playing outside, throwing rocks when the police pulled up with guns drawn. He was eventually handcuffed behind his back and put into a patrol car. This little boy makes good grades, plays basketball, football, baseball and runs track. He also has been a participant in the Omega Camp for four years in a row.
Our question for Spartanburg City Police Office is….does your policing policy include pulling out guns on and handcuffing 11 year old kids??? And yes, we saw the lady pick up the orange tip toy gun from the grass…we were told he was handcuffed because of rocks that were thrown…not because of a very obvious toy gun.
The video went viral and was shared tens of thousands of times being reposted on multiple pages with the same description. The Spartanburg police department was flooded with angry calls asking why on earth a police officer would hold a small child at gunpoint and place him in handcuffs for a toy gun.
However, it appears from the body camera footage, released by the police department, that the officer never pulled his gun.
This incident began in an eerily similar fashion to that of Tamir Rice who was shot and killed by cops for the same actions as the 9-year-old in the video above. However, this cop chose not to kill.
It appears, from the body camera footage below, that the responding officer acted appropriately.
As TFTP has reported numerous times in the past, police have and will kill children for holding toy guns. Only two months ago, in San Diego, police killed a young boy in a school parking lot for holding a toy gun.
According to FOX Carolina, the department said they released the entire recording from the officer’s body cam “in the interest of transparency” and to correct some of the misinformation that has been shared.
The only questionable part of the arrest was the officer’s decision to handcuff the small child and place him in the back of the cruiser. However, given the fact that the officer chose not to shoot at or kill the young boy, the handcuffing was overshadowed.
Spartanburg police also shared that their policies based on case law do not prohibit the handcuffing of juveniles or any individuals identified as suspects in the initial phases of a police investigation, reports FOX.
When watching the video below, it is important to remind ourselves about the damaging nature of sharing information that is only half true or completely false. When false information is shared, the entire movement is discredited and set back that much further.
Any number of other cops, when presented with a child holding a toy gun, could have and would have shot and killed him — or, at the very least, actually pulled out their gun.
The cop in the video below deserves scrutiny for his choice to handcuff the child, but he also deserves praise for sparing the boy’s life.