A viral video recorded at a children’s playground in Pittsburgh shows an adult white man physically restraining a Black 13-year-old boy and refusing to let him leave.
According to WPXI, the man, who was identified as Thomas D’Andrea, told police he believed the boy was vandalizing the playground and a nearby abandoned truck. However, both the boy and his mother refuted the story.
Shalaya Hasbrouck, who goes by Shalayla McGovern on Facebook, posted two videos on her Facebook page from the incident. In the caption, she explained her 13-year-old son had gone to a park to retrieve his sister’s phone charger when D’Andrea accused the boy of vandalizing a truck.
Hasbrouck said D’Andrea hit her son, which provoked her son to hit him back.
“He got upset because my son hit him back. He thought that because he was an adult he could put his hands on someone and the child wasn’t gonna do anything. The next thing you know, they’re on top of the slide. He pins my son down, threatens my daughter,” Hasbrouck told The Root. “Thankfully my daughter had enough sense to record it.”
In the video, Hasbrouck’s daughter can be heard emotionally begging D’Andrea to get off of her brother. However, the grown man says he is going to restrain the boy until the police arrive.
The boy’s mother and father did not arrive on the scene until after the police arrived. Investigators questioned the child, who said he never vandalized any property and that D’Andrea began attacking him unprovoked.
After a doctor examined the child, D’Andrea was charged with assault, but never spent any time in jail.
"How could you? How could you? Weren't you raised better? What if your mother saw this video, how would she feel to see her son attacking a child? I think she would be disgusted," Hasbrouck told WPXI.
Although D’Andrea has not commented on the incident, his wife told reporters with WPXI he is the real victim. She did not elaborate.
Additionally, members of the Greenfield Community Association, where D’Andrea serves on the committee, have sent a letter asking him to step down.