Chicago police handcuffed a 10-year-old boy on June 1 after mistaking him for being an escaped criminal.
Cell phone video shows police handcuffing Michael Thomas Jr. while questioning him about a gun, notes WMAQ.
Police claim that there were multiple calls of a 10- to 12-year-old with a gun in the area; police also claim Michael ran from them. The boy’s father was killed by police.
Michael’s uncle, Victor, confronted the cops at the scene:
They’re telling them that someone called them saying that there is a 12-year-old black kid on a bike with all blue on had a gun. There was about five little black boys with all blue on.
Michael’s grandmother also objected to the police actions:
You can see that he doesn’t have any weapons on him. I raised up my grandbaby’s shirt. He don’t have anything on him. Take those handcuffs off of him.
Witnesses said the handcuffs were removed from the boy after about 15 minutes.
Michael’s mother Starr Ramse was outraged:
I want answers. You can look at him and tell he no teenager. Ten year’s old you get handcuffed? You scarred him for life.
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson defended the handcuffing “for safety reasons”:
The call came out as a young man 10-to 12 years old that was passing out a gun and the description fully matched the individual that they stopped.
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…So, they handcuffed the kid for safety reasons because he did match that description. They followed all the rules and protocols that we have in place. So, I’m not concerned about that at all.