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Outrage After Police Handcuff Black Girl, 11, As Mistaken Car Theft Suspect

The girl’s mother says she’s ‘livid.’

An Atlanta-area mother is upset with local police after the reported misidentification of her 11-year-old daughter as the suspect in a botched auto theft, saying officers went as far as handcuffing her and placing her in the back of a squad car, despite offering proof of her innocence.

Cynthia Hendricks told Atlanta’s WXIA that police rang the doorbell to her home near Lithonia, Georgia last Wednesday evening and sought her daughter out, asking for her by name, saying that she was suspected of trying to steal a neighbor’s car.

The officer said that just minutes prior, a 16-year-old girl and two teenage boys attempted the theft on that particular street. The neighbor named Hendricks’ daughter as someone who could have been involved.

But Hendricks said that her child had been inside her home since 4 p.m. and was not allowed outside. She also offered video footage from her home security camera which proved her statement.  

Although the officer said a detective would follow up with Hendricks, about 20 minutes later four officers and detectives actually showed up to arrest her daughter.

"[The officer] placed handcuffs on my daughter, placed her in back of [the] police vehicle with intent to transport her to juvenile detention," Hendricks said.

It wasn’t until the officers had her in the car, that they deduced that she was not 16 and not the suspect they were looking for. They eventually let the child go, but it left Hendricks furious.

"I am beyond livid and disgusted at DeKalb County Police for, one, not bothering to ask my daughter's age before traumatizing her, two, blatantly ignoring the fact that our surveillance cameras show that London did not exit the house whatsoever, and, three, not doing their due diligence before coming to my home to attempt to arrest my child," she said.

A DeKalb County police spokesperson told WXIA the department was “not made aware” of any concerns. But a spokeswoman later said they would look into the incident.

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