In an April 18 video that has now garnered more than 6.1 million views, social media was outraged to see white officers detaining an 8-year-old Black boy over allegedly stealing a bag of chips.
The Syracuse Police Department and Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh held a news conference Thursday to reveal body cam footage and respond about the extreme way the officers placed the child in the back of the police cruiser, which took place midday on April 17.
Police were responding to a larceny in progress at a local dollar general in the northside of Syracuse when they came across the children that were responsible a block away.
A bystander, Kenneth Jackson, began filming the now-viral video of the cops grabbing the child from his bike using excessive force.
“I felt his terror and decided to intervene,” Jackson said to NBC affiliate WSTM. “There’s a way that the police need to interact with kids, and what they did that day was completely unacceptable.”
Syracuse police really ? Over a bag of chips ? He’s just a kid. pic.twitter.com/DNOwcuUsvf
— HUNNDO 444 (@HunndoHefner) April 18, 2022
In different angles of the incident, Sgt. Mark Rusin played five different body cam clips at the news conference, totaling about 15 minutes of video of the three officers involved.
The footage revealed their familiarity with the children they encountered, referring to them by first name. According to Rusin, the cops knew the kids from prior interactions dealing with repeated petty thefts.
“They knew where he lived, they knew his parents. And when they took the child home, they took the time to engage with that father, with that child, with his siblings and talk about what went on,” said First Deputy Police Chief Joe Cecile.
“Folks, this is community policing 101. It is what every citizen is asking from our police department — community policing — and it’s what we ask the officers to do as well. Know your territory, know the citizens in your territory, whether they are the adults or the children,” the newly instated chief continued.
Ceclie took over Syracuse PD due to Police Chief Kenton Buckner having resigned just days after the video surfaced online.
The police chief of Syracuse, NY, has resigned from his position, citing "personal reasons."
His resignation comes after a Syracuse police officer was filmed detaining a crying Black child for allegedly stealing a bag of chips.
An investigation is ongoing. pic.twitter.com/hKKh35z2Kt
— AJ+ (@ajplus) April 22, 2022
Anthony Weah, the 8-year-old’s father, accused the officers of using excessive force. Per Syracuse.com, Weah is struggling to take care of his sick wife while working and raising his three children. He told authorities he simply needed some sleep when his boys left the house Easter morning.
“You can’t treat him like that because of a bag of chips like he killed somebody. He’s not a criminal,” said Weah.
Walsh maintained that police need better training in dealing with youths who come from struggling homes.
The fact remains, this would never be done to a white child.