A white mother in Utah is calling for an independent investigation Friday after a Utah police officer allegedly pointed a gun at her 10-year-old son's head.
In a news conference on June 7, Jerri Hrubes said a white Woods Cross police officer pulled a gun on her Black son, DJ Hrubes, while he was playing on his grandmother's lawn.
During the press conference, Hrubes said she heard the officer tell DJ to put his hands in the air and get on the ground while brandishing his firearm. Hrubes said her son didn't have any toys or objects in his hand.
When Hrubes ran outside, she screamed at the officer, "What are you doing? This is a 10-year-old child."
At this point, the officer offered no explanation and just got back into his car before driving away.
Hrubes said she called dispatch right away and demanded the officer return to her home. Eventually the same officer drove back to Hrube’s home and apologized to DJ.
Hbrubes said her son doesn’t "have a mean bone in his body" and is mentally delayed and has issues with his sight. After the officer apologized, DJ said it was OK and gave the officer a hug.
Police said it was a case of “mistaken identity” during an active search for two potentially armed men.
“We had minimal information at the time, we had one possibly Hispanic out on foot and we knew there was at least one other suspect involved,” Lt. Adam Osoro told KSTU. “This kid was just in the area at the wrong time.”
However, Jerri and DJ believe the incident was racially motivated.
“I just felt like he pointed the gun at me because of my skin color,” DJ told KSTU.
While she recounted the incident to reporters, Hrubes became very emotional.
"I support all police officers. I see good in them," Hrubes tearfully said. "But I do not support putting a child of 10 years old at gunpoint with no explanation. . . Does he look like he's 30? Does he look like he's 18? No."
"I don't think what transpired yesterday was what a typical 10-year-old would be faced with," Hrubes added.
In a Facebook post Thursday, Hrubes identified the officer as Mike Daugherty, of the Woods Cross Police Department.
"I believe it's because my child is BLACK!!!!" Hrubes wrote in the post.
The Salt Lake branch of the NAACP released a statement calling for "a full independent investigation" of the incident, "and not through their Internal Affairs department.”
In the statement, the NAACP said "training and good judgment was not considered when approaching this young boy."
"The NAACP wants assurance that something like this does not happen again," the statement reads.
"The NAACP is not calling for the firing of this police officer but would like a full independent investigation," President Jeanetta Williams wrote in the statement. "The NAACP would never arbitrarily call for the firing of the officer without having an investigation and facts to better understand what occurred."
Hrubes said the incident changed how she feels about living in West Bountiful, an area where she grew up as a child.
"As a white mother to a Black son, I don't feel safe in West Bountiful anymore," Hrubes told reporters. "That changed after yesterday. I do not feel that he is safe. He has not left my sight. It just doesn't feel like it used to."
(Photo: KUTV 2News)
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