The Lansing, Ill., Police Department is claiming that a white off-duty officer “detained” a black teen on the officer’s property after the boy and another juvenile refused to follow his orders to remain there.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Police Department issued the statement Tuesday after video of the black teen, identified as 15-year-old Jordan Brunson, went viral. In the video the officer, who has not been identified, is seen pinning Jordan to the ground, using his whole body, while threatening to kill him. At one point, the Tribune notes, he yells at a woman to get his gun ... you know, all things you do when you “detain” somebody.
According to the police, the officer encountered Jordan after a caller told a dispatcher about a fight involving some 30 juveniles on Saturday afternoon. The fight ended before officers got to the scene, but officials said that they did, in fact, see about 30 youths in the area. A 12-year-old black boy told officers that he was in the area when a white teen apparently gave him a drink that might have contained drugs, according to a police report.
The boy’s older brother then got into a “physical altercation” that ended with the white teen being hit multiple times in the face.
The off-duty officer eventually bumped into the white teen, who was bleeding from his face. Officials say that the officer told them that he found a backpack with “a baseball hat and a realistic-looking BB gun” in his backyard.
As the white teen spoke to the officer, Jordan approached them. Both teens then attempted to leave the officer’s property, but the officer demanded that they stay until police arrived. When the boys refused, the officer grabbed at Jordan.
Both teens eventually were turned over to police but were then returned to their families, and no one has been arrested over the incident.
Of course, the officer’s story varies greatly from what Jordan told WGN TV days ago. Jordan told the news station that the officer never identified himself as a cop, never asked the teens what they were doing on the property and never asked them to leave. He said that the officer came out of nowhere and tackled him.
“You guys are on my fucking property!” the cop can be heard saying in the video as he holds Jordan down on the grass with a knee, his hand on the boy’s neck.
“Let me go!” Jordan pleads in the video.
“No, you are on my fucking property. I could fucking kill you,” the officer responds.
Andrew Stroth, a lawyer representing Jordan and his family, insisted that the narrative issued by the Lansing police was inconsistent with the video and other eyewitness reports.
“The video speaks for itself,” Stroth said. “[The Lansing Police Department] is conflating two separate and distinct incidents. And what I want to know is how was that officer possibly justified to use excessive force and threaten to kill a 15-year-old boy?”
Stroth said the family is “demanding” a full investigation from the department to determine whether any litigation is necessary.
Read more at the Chicago Tribune.