Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is defending officers who were caught on camera handcuffing and detaining a 10-year-old boy during a search for a teen suspect.
“They followed all of the rules and protocols that we have in place, so I’m not concerned about that at all,” Johnson said during a Wednesday press conference.
Chicago’s WMAQ-TV obtained a video that captured the June 1 incident, which shows the fourth-grader handcuffed and crying in front of a police car.
According to Johnson, the officers were investigating multiple reports of a teenager who’d allegedly been seen “passing out a gun.”
A woman in the video, whom WMAQ-TV identifies as the boy’s grandmother, can be heard on the video questioning the officers about their reason for detaining her grandson.
“You can see that he doesn’t have any weapons on him,” she said in the footage. “I raised up my grandbaby’s shirt. He don’t have anything on him. Take those handcuffs off of him.”
WMAQ’s version of the video has blurred out the faces of the officers but not the boy’s.
One of the unidentified officers can be heard telling the woman that the police were in the area searching for “a person who broke out of juvenile hall” and that her grandson fit the description and ran when approached. Someone off camera replies, claiming, “he’s scared, y’all killed his father.”
The boy was reportedly detained for about 15 minutes.
Johnson said the officers handcuffed the boy for “safety reasons.”
“Keep in mind, this is difficult for an officer to tell right off the bat if you’re 10 years old, 12 years old [or] 14,” Johnson said, adding that the boy, “did match that description.”
The boy’s mother, Starr Ramsey, did not return a call for comment from HuffPost on Thursday. In an interview with WMAQ-TV, she said the officers’ actions were unnecessary.
“I want answers,” Ramsey said. “You can look at him and tell he no teenager. Ten years old, you get handcuffed? You scarred him for life.”
Johnson said he sympathizes with the family and has ordered an internal investigation.
“I can only imagine the mother’s and grandmother’s anguish that that child had to go through that situation,” he said. “So, we’re investigating it, just to ensure that everything was done properly,” the superintendent said.