It’s apparently open season on Black people in America, and that includes our children.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) says it is now investigating a shooting incident in which officers from the Waycross Police Department in Ware County, Georgia fired multiple times at a vehicle of Black children.
According to the GBI report, the officer—who has not been named—observed a traffic violation on Saturday morning and started following the car to obtain its license information.
In that car were five children, ranging from ages 16 to 9 years old, who told News4Jax that they were heading back home after a Walmart run. Shortly after they pulled into their neighborhood, the car was riddled with bullets courtesy of Waycross police officers.
According to the three youngest children, who spoke with News4Jax, the officer didn’t turn his lights on to pull them over until they had pulled into their own neighborhood near Walters and Greenwood streets.
The 12-year-old said the older teens were scared and told the three youngest kids to jump out of the car and run home to get their father, but when they got out, the officer started shooting, the girl said.
According to GBI, when the three younger children ran off, the first officer followed them in his patrol car while a second officer who responded to assist approached the teens’ car from the front. GBI said the car drove toward the officer, and he fired multiple times.
The 9-year-old told News4Jax at least seven shots were fired and one bullet whizzed by his head.
“It went past my face,” the boy said. “I could have gotten shot in my face, but they shot the swing.”
The GBI report on the shooting adds that there was “an altercation” between one of the officers and the 15-year-old boy, who can be seen bloodied and in the back of a cop car in videos from the scene captured by his father Dominique Goodman Sr.
“We go in the back, we open the door, we see my 9-year-old, my 12-year-old and a 14-year-old running from the police behind them with gunshots coming behind them,” Goodman told News4Jax. “We go down the street and we see our 15-year-old and our 16-year-old on the ground.”
He added that the children were coming home to get him so they could all go to a football tournament in Jacksonville that two of the children were set to play in Saturday.
“To hear gunshots in this neighborhood and to see that it’s our kids being shot at, and everybody in the neighborhood knows our kids. They know they’re not bad kids,” Goodman said.
The Waycross police arrested and charged the two older children, including for aggravated assault on a police officer, felony obstruction of an officer, and removal or attempt to remove a firearm from an officer.
They are both also charged with possession of a handgun by a minor, though it isn’t clear if those charges are actually regarding the officer’s weapons or the boys’ own.
The NAACP is now calling on the Waycross Police Department to release body-cam and camera dash footage of the traffic stop, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The GBI says it is carrying out an independent investigation into the incident, after which the case will be turned over to the Waycross County District Attorney’s Office for review.