Baton Rouge, LA — After video surfaced of a Baton Rouge police officer choking a small 13-year-old boy, city officials promised a "prompt, transparent review." Predictably, however, despite the promise and the shocking encounter captured on video, officials haven't released so much as the officer's name.
"I have viewed the short snippet of video and snapshots shared via social media," Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said in the statement. "The actions I viewed prompted me to contact our chief of police to ensure he was aware of this situation."
But the police chief is choosing to remain silent and has not released any details about the alleged "investigation."
Adding to the insidious nature of this attack on a child is that, according to the family, the child had not committed a crime. According to family, the officers mistook the small child for someone else.
"The family says, the teen, 13, was allegedly mistaken for someone else when the incident occurred," local reporter Jonah Gilmore
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A video is circulating showing a @BRPD officer trying to arrest a teen. The family says, the teen, 13, was allegedly mistaken for someone else when the incident occurred.
They say, tonight he’s home, but they want answers from the department on what’s they’re calling excessive. pic.twitter.com/G6LYJVZlmX
— Jonah Gilmore (@JonahMGilmore) February 22, 2021
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According to police, they were called to the area after reports of an argument while children were playing basketball. Police claim that baseball bats were involved in the argument and they were called in to prevent any violence.
According to a report from WAFB, officers were able to calm the children and left without incident, citing the police. However, the argument resumed 30 minutes later and officers, once again, descended on the scene.
When they arrived, they targeted a 13-year-old girl and the 13-year-old boy.
Though the video does not show what led up to the child on the ground with the officer's arm around his neck, the short clip is infuriating enough by itself.
"You're choking him!" a bystander can be heard yelling in the video. "He was playing basketball!"
The boy does not appear to be fighting back at all and the fear in his eyes as the officer wraps his arm around his neck is evident. Eventually, as other officers arrive on the scene, the officer on top of the boy gets up and the boy is placed in handcuffs.
“If that officer did not have a badge or a uniform on, and was an adult on the ground with a child in that manner, he’d be arrested,” said Ron Haley, a civil rights attorney hired to represent the boy. “Nowhere should an unarmed 13-year-old, who is not a danger to himself or others, be treated like a grown-up.”
“I appreciate the swift response from Mayor Broome and the promises made by Chief Paul. However, too many times in our community we see obvious police misconduct go unchecked and unpunished,” he said, according to The Advocate.
After the boy was placed in handcuffs, he was charged with resisting arrest, battery of a police officer, and disturbing the police, while the girl was charged with resisting arrest.
The boy was booked into juvenile detention but was released to his family hours later. Haley is now demanding the Baton Rouge police department release the body camera footage of the incident. Given the fact that they have yet to even release the officer's name, however, we shouldn't expect that footage any time soon.
For those who don't recall, this video is eerily similar to that of Alton Sterling which ended with a man who was beloved in the community being killed by police. It took only 90 seconds for Baton Rouge police officer Blane Salamoni to threaten to kill and then kill Sterling back in 2016. However, it took nearly two years for the body camera footage to be released and for Salamoni to be fired.
Like the boy in the video above, Sterling was thrown to the ground by police during a struggle. Luckily for the boy in the video above, however, he was not shot and killed like Sterling.