An investigation has been launched by the Baton Rouge Police Department in Louisiana after a video released shows one its officers apparently holding a 13-year-old Black child in a chokehold.
According to NBC News, officers were responding to a call about a disturbance last Sunday. Baton Rouge police Chief Murphy Paul told reporters that the officers initially managed to deescalate the situation and left the scene. They were called back an hour later and that’s when shit went south.
As you can see in that horrible video, there is very little context about what led to the 13-year-old being pinned to the ground by the cop. Do we really need it, though? What threat does a 13-year-old realistically pose to a grown-ass man? Literally all you have to do is place your hand on his forehead and boom, threat neutralized. Even if the kid was popping off, you’re the adult here, so act like it.
If an unarmed 13-year-old has you this shook, then maybe you shouldn’t have a job as a police officer.
The incident led to two teens being arrested, with one charged with battery of a police officer, and the other being released to his parents. The body camera footage was released to the boy’s family on Monday, and there have been calls in the city for the body camera footage of the incident to be released to the public. The police department and mayor’s office have requested court approval to publicly release the body camera footage as the incident involves a minor.
Sharon Weston Broome, the mayor-president of Baton Rouge, called the incident “concerning” in a statement, adding that it warrants a “prompt, transparent review.” Broome and Paul have reviewed the footage of the incident, but have yet to determine if the officer involved will face any disciplinary action.
“BRPD officers have hundreds of encounters that we never hear of because they go without incident,” Broome said in a statement, according to The Advocate. “Yet, it is incumbent on me to use my role as mayor to bring attention to those that are questionable in order to help build public trust and ultimately encourage the best policing tactics from our officers.”
Ron Haley, attorney for the family, also issued a statement, saying “I appreciate the swift response from Mayor Broome and the promises made by Chief Paul. However, too many times in our community we see obvious police misconduct go unchecked and unpunished.”
“No unarmed child should be choked and manhandled by a police officer,” Haley added. It’s really sad that this is a point that we’ve had to repeat time and time again.