Springfield, IL — A dramatic video posted to Facebook this weekend shows two Springfield police officers wreaking havoc on children at a playground. The department is now conducting damage control after the video began going viral on Sunday.
The video is of an incident that unfolded Friday afternoon around 7:00 pm at the playground of Harvard Park Elementary. According to police, they were responding to reports of alleged criminal activity in the area. When the police arrived they demanded all the children vacate the playground.
Apparently, the children didn’t leave the playground fast enough or moved to the other side of it, which caused all hell to break loose. As the brief video shows, the officers attempt to grab some of the children and one of them falls to the ground.
Once the officer is on top of the child on the ground he begins to dole out punches to the boy’s face and chest. It is unclear what caused the officer to begin beating the child. However, it appears it was not at all necessary and could’ve sparked a much more serious incident.
The Springfield police department noted that they are aware of the video and are ‘investigating’ the incident. However, they noted that both of the officers in the video remain on regular duty.
Over the weekend, after the video began to go viral, the Springfield police department issued the following statement attempting to justify the use of violence against the children.
On May 26, shortly after 7:00 p.m., officers responded to multiple calls for service regarding a large group of juveniles gathered on the grounds and in the area of Harvard Park Elementary School, located at 2501 S. 11th Street. Some of the juveniles were reportedly involved in alleged criminal activity. Upon arrival, officers immediately began to disperse the crowd. The group reconvened on the east side of the school, at which time officers again told the juveniles that they needed to leave.
Rather than leaving, two juveniles continued to disobey officers’ commands and became aggressive towards the officers. The juveniles actively resisted arrest and force was used to take them into custody. One officer suffered minor injuries during the incident.
The two juveniles involved in the incident were arrested for aggravated battery to a police officer, mob action and resisting arrest.
The officers involved remain on duty at this time.
Anyone with additional information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the Springfield Police Department at 217.788.8325.
As Felipe Hemming notes for photography is not a crime, none of the above statement excuses these officer’s actions, as this escalation to this level of force as is not needed ever when interacting with children or for that matter adults, when there is no crime occurring nor the safety of the public at risk. Once the dust settles and we can get access to the police incident reports, I am sure the creative writing skills of the individuals involved will include text regarding violent resistance and fear for their safety because some children were playing in a school yard playground.
Police officers assaulting children is, unfortunately, not an isolated incident. Just this weekend, the Free Thought Project reported the story of police officers in Virginia Beach who allegedly held 4 young children at gunpoint as they played outside during their first day of summer.
The parents of children have since filed a complaint noting that the police had no reason to assault the four boys with a deadly weapon. Naturally, the police deny any wrongdoing.