Syracuse Police detain 8 year old black boy over stolen $3 Dorito chips and are accused of rough handling and traumatizing the child as questions of institutional bias and racism are raised.
What if he was a white boy? Questions have been raised after viral video showed 3 white Syracuse police officers physically detaining an 8 year old black boy suspected of stealing a bag of Dorito chips from a convenience store.
The footage shot by Kenneth Jackson and widely shared on social media shows the crying boy being detained by the officers on Sunday, syracuse.com reported.
‘What is y’all doing?’ the bystander asks an officer holding the little boy by the arms.
‘Guess. Take a guess what I’m doing,’ the cop replies, as Jackson continues to question the police officers.
‘He looks like a baby to me. I don’t know what you’re doing. So what’s going on, then?’ Jackson demands. Another officer tells the bystander the boy ‘was stealing stuff.’
Syracuse police really ? Over a bag of chips ? He’s just a kid. pic.twitter.com/DNOwcuUsvf
— HUNNDO 444 (@HunndoHefner) April 18, 2022
‘I’ll pay for them!’
‘Nah, man, so he’s stealing a bag of chips, you’re treating him like an old cold—– killer?’ Jackson says, swearing at the officers as they put the child in the car.
‘If he stole some chips, I’ll pay for them! I’ll pay for them! Leave him alone! He’s a kid!’ he shouts.
The boy’s father, Anthony Weah, told the Post-Standard that police went to his home after the incident and told him his three boys were accused of stealing the chips.
Weah said the cops were friendly and didn’t press charges — but he was shocked when he saw the video on social media later.
‘Why would the police treat that child like that? Over a $3 bag of chips,’ Weah told the news outlet, adding that he wants to file a complaint against the police.
The dad, who is from Ethiopia, acknowledges that what his son did was wrong, while nevertheless taking exception with the way the cops handled the incident, which is now being investigated by the department.
‘The policemen, they are not children. They are not boys, they’re men,’ Weah told the Post Standard.
Another (minority) youth scarred by the system
Jackson told the outlet that he initially didn’t realize the person being detained was a child.
‘He got snatched off that bike. The bike hit the ground and chips went everywhere,’ he said. ‘It was just beyond me that they were actually treating this baby like this.’
Jackson added: ‘There’s other ways to rectify this besides scare tactics. Now that’s just another youth that’s scarred by the system.’
The incident was widely condemned on social media, with users calling out police for over reacting to a minor offense.
Some commenters pointed to the racial overtones because the boy is black and the officers are white.
‘Gee, why don’t Black people trust the police?’ one commentator posted.
Social media responds
Police said in a statement: ‘We are aware of a video being shared on social media involving several of our Officers and juveniles accused of stealing from a store on the City’s northside,’ WTRF reported.
‘The incident, including the Officers’ actions and body-worn cameras, are being reviewed. There is some misinformation involving this case. The juvenile suspected of larceny was not placed in handcuffs. He was placed in the rear of a patrol unit where he was directly brought home. Officers met with the child’s father and no charges were filed,’ police added.
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh responded to the episode saying, ‘What occurred demonstrates the continuing need for the city to provide support to our children and families and to invest in alternative response options to assist our officers,’ CNY Central reported.
And then there were these other comments that caught this author’s eye, see what you think?
First, it doesn’t take 3 cops to sort this out. Second, snatch the bag from the kid, have him go to the store and apologize. If a member of the community says they will rectify it, then let them. Stop using force where being humane would have yielded a better response.
I don’t think it’s about the “chips”. It’s more about the fact that he stole from the gas station and the employee at the gas station must’ve reported it. They have a job to do and they handled it professionally imo
They traumatized that little boy over a bag of chips? Unbelievable.