Black Teens Cuffed for Selling Water on National Mall

They can’t find the people hanging nooses all over federal grounds, but the U.S. Park Police are on it when it comes to illegal water-selling.

A photo showing three African-American teens being handcuffed on the National Mall for selling water in extreme heat has sparked outrage, more proof that black teens are over-policed and shown exactly which spaces they are welcome in.

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WJLA reports that a Washington, D.C., City Council member wrote to the head of the agency demanding answers about the Thursday incident.

“I can’t help but think how the reaction by these same officers might have varied if different children had set up a quaint hand-painted lemonade stand on the same spot. While still the same violation of selling a beverage without proper permits and licences, I doubt we would have seen little girls in pigtails handcuffed on the ground,” Council Member Charles Allen wrote.

The U.S. Park Police issued a response Friday saying that the four individuals (three teens and one adult) were detained by Park Police officers for “illegally vending on the National Mall in the area of 12th Street and Jefferson Drive, Northwest.”

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Turns out the adult was not involved, and the three teens, one 16-year-old and two 17-year-olds, were released to the custody of their legal guardians, along with their scary contraband.

The question remains: Why were they cuffed (and humiliated) on the Mall in the first place?

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Read more at WJLA.

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About the author

Angela Helm

Ms. Bronner Helm is a Contributing Editor at The Root. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.