Local officials say they are investigating after a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police officer was filmed pinning a Black 13-year-old to the ground and holding his arm around the child’s neck during an arrest on Sunday.
Video posted to social media shows an officer holding the boy on the ground as onlookers scream, with one repeatedly crying: “You’re choking him.”
The officer then appears to release the boy’s neck and places the child in hand restraints with the assistance of a second officer. (See blurred video of the incident below.)
Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said at a press conference Monday that officials have not yet reached a decision concerning the officer’s actions but that a full investigation will take place.
“We will not skirt around any issues. We will make sure, I will make sure, that this is thoroughly investigated,” she said.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said at Monday’s presser that officers had twice responded to several disturbance calls involving children at the same location on Sunday before the filmed incident.
During the second call, two children were taken into custody, one for battery of a police officer and the other for resisting arrest, Paul said.
The police chief would not address details of the video circulating on social media but said that his department and the city are working to release police body-camera footage of the incident. That video’s release is pending approval by a court, since it contains footage of a minor.
Civil rights attorney Ron Haley Jr., who is representing the boy’s family, said he has reviewed the body-camera footage and implored the public to be patient and wait for its public release.
“I am asking for patience until the footage is released. The videos of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Trayford Pellerin and countless others that have sparked this moment of change also create a heightened sense of angst and anxiety when it comes to interaction with law enforcement,” Haley told CNN. “I’m sure (my client) didn’t wake on up Sunday believing he would be in the middle of a civil rights issue captivating the city. That is a lot of pressure on a young person.”
Haley said the teen was released into the custody of his parents on Sunday and that he has been charged with battery of a police officer.
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