An investigation is underway in the Chicago Police Department after a crying 10-year-old boy was recorded in handcuffs.
On Friday, a cellphone video revealed Chicago police officers handcuffed Michael Thomas Jr. while questioning him about a gun. According to police, they received several reports about a 10 to 12-year-old boy carrying a gun in the area, WMAQ-TV NBC-5 News reported.
When officers approached Michael, he ran away from them, said police.
However, Michael’s uncle Victor confronted the officers during the arrest.
“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,” the uncle is heard saying in the video. “There was about five little Black boys with all blue on.”
Michael’s grandmother also questioned why police handcuffed a crying child.
“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.”
About 15 minutes later, witnesses said the handcuffs were removed.
Although the family believes this was a case of mistaken identity, Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said an internal investigation will be conducted to make sure, reported the Chicago Sun-Times.
Additionally, Johnson said on Wednesday that his officers followed protocol in the incident.
“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,” Johnson said during a press conference.
“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.”
Johnson did make sure to express his sympathy with the family for what they’ve experienced.
“I can only imagine the mother’s and grandmother’s anguish that that child had to go through that situation. So, we’re investigating it, just to ensure that everything was done properly,” the superintendent said.
(Photo: Kali9/Getty Images)