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The Black Chicago Police Superintendent defended the cops who handcuffed a distraught 10-year-old who was detained by several officers.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Wednesday that police “followed all of the rules and protocols” when they detained 10-year-old Michael Thomas Jr., who allegedly matched the description of “a young man 10 to 12 years old that was passing out a gun,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“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,” said Johnson.
Cell phone footage captured Friday night shows Michael Thomas Jr being handcuffed by officers outside his grandmother’s home, then pushed up against the hood of a squad car as police questioned him about possessing a firearm.
Thomas’ family is outraged by the treatment of the young boy and are demanding answers about how something like this could escalate so quickly.
The boy’s uncle, Victor, reportedly confronted the officers at the scene and can be heard in the clip questioning why his nephew had to be put in handcuffs.
“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.”
Thomas’ grandmother says she also witnessed the scene.
“You can see that he doesn’t have any weapons on him,” she said in the video. “I raised up my grandbaby’s shirt. He don’t have anything on him. Take those handcuffs off of him.”
The officers who have yet to be identified also tried to justify handcuffing Michael Thomas Jr.
“Listen, we got a call about a person who broke out of juvenile hall in blue. We get out the car; that’s when he starts running, that’s why he’s in handcuffs.” Somebody off-camera yelled out “He’s scared; y’all killed his father.”
Witnesses says it took about 15 minutes before the handcuffs were finally removed, but by then the emotional damage to the child’s psyche had already been done.
The video of the incident outraged many on social media. Chicago police are still investigating.