A group of boys who were detained by police officers last week told reporters about the harrowing incident that included racial slurs, cops pointing guns at teenagers and the unsolved mystery of a 911 call.
On Wednesday, Brianna Lindell posted a video to her Facebook page of Minnesota Park Police detaining four teenagers at Minnehaha Falls, a Minneapolis, Minn. area park. The video quickly went viral, as did another exclusive video of the incident obtained by The Root.
Multiple onlookers said they say they witnessed an older white teenager attack the boys as they played in the park. According to the eyewitness accounts, the white aggressor had a trash can, a stick and also claimed that he had a knife.
After bystanders deescalated the situation, the white boy apparently vanished into thin air along with his girlfriend, who had already called 911 claiming her boyfriend was being accosted by black four teenagers with knives and a gun.
After police arrived on the scene, handcuffed the black youngsters, searched them at gunpoint, put the boys in the back of a police car and told onlookers to scram, they declared the incident was over because they couldn’t find any weapons.
On Monday, the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) held a press conference allowing the boys involved to give their side of the story.
“I was at the park I was just trying to have a good day with my friends,” Adam Guffe recounted. “This white kid just came up to us saying racial slurs toward us. When the cops came, they just put guns to our faces. I felt like I was discriminated [against]. I felt like this was not supposed to happen. I hope it never happens to anyone again,” added the eighth-grader.
Park Police initially claimed that the responding officers only “unholstered” their weapon, but did not point it at the children. Authorities later recanted that statement and admitted that at least one gun was pointed in “the general direction” of the four teenage boys, none of whom had reached their sixteenth birthday.
“They pulled a gun in my face, and I was scared,” said 14-year-old Suhaib Ahmed. “One was shaking and I was scared that he was going to shoot me.”
Thirteen-year-old Abdijabar Ahmed echoed the other boys’ accounts, explaining: “I was scared. I thought that would be my last day of the world.”
According to KARE, Minnesota Park Police has hired an outside legal team to investigate the police officers’ conduct. A representative from the parks also met privately with the families to apologize for the incident.
“The way that our children were dealt with was subhuman,” said Sirat Guffe the mother of Adan. She added, through a translator:
“They treated our children as they were felons or thugs. Our children are not terrorists, They are not gangsters. They are not criminals.
The way that this incident happened has really affected our family. We’re still feeling depressed and sick from this incident.”
All four children were part of Minneapolis’ large Somali Muslim community.
Investigators still have not been able to track down Nancy 911, the girl who made the fake emergency call. Armed only with scant clues including the alleged cop-caller’s number, her description and the full authority of the State of Minnesota, park police say, “the investigation into the origins and validity of the initial 911 call is ongoing.”
Jaylani Hussein, a spokesperson for CAIR, underscored the intensity and danger of the situation, explaining: “It started out as a hate crime and police doubled down with a very horrible, scary situation.”
Luckily, none of the boys were injured.
Unless you count the whole gun-in-their-faces thing. And being lied on. And the racial slurs. And being handcuffed and put in the back of a police car. And not knowing whether or not you were going to live or die.
But other than that, they seem perfectly fine.