A Divisive Reaction to Video of Syracuse Cops and 8-Year-Old

Boy was accused of stealing a bag of chips
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2022 9:49 AM CDT
Updated Apr 23, 2022 5:20 PM CDT
A Divisive Reaction to Video of Syracuse Cops and 8-Year-Old
Syracuse, NY, is shown.   (Getty Images)

If not for Kenneth Jackson, Anthony Weah wouldn't know the full story. Weah was running errands Sunday in Syracuse, New York, when police called to say his sons allegedly stole chips from a store, and could he return home. Weah tells Syracuse.com that he came upon a calm scene: friendly officers and no charges. But Jackson had been present for what happened prior to Weah arriving home. He says a boy "got snatched off that bike. The bike hit the ground and chips went everywhere." Then he began recording. In a video that has been viewed 4.8 million times on Twitter (warning: language), an officer is seen putting one of Weah's sons, an 8-year-old, into the police car.

The boy is sobbing and then screaming, and Jackson and other witnesses can be heard yelling at the cops to let the boy go. "What he's got a bag of chips? ... You treat him like a ... f---ing killer?" Though the officer was holding the boy from behind, Syracuse police said in a statement, "There is some misinformation involving this case. The juvenile suspected of larceny was not placed in handcuffs. He was placed in the rear of a patrol unit where he was directly brought home. Officers met with the child’s father and no charges were filed." Public condemnation was swift, though there were plenty of comments in support of the officers' actions as well.

WTAP quotes policing expert Dr. Keith Taylor as saying he thought the police actions were appropriate: The child was detained and then taken to his home and family. "You don’t see any inappropriate use of force by the officers," says Taylor. "They’re simply doing their job." Syracuse.com reports Mayor Ben Walsh has asked the police chief to review the officers' bodycam footage. He added in a statement that while he was initially "concerned" upon viewing the video, "the officer knew the child from prior interactions and explained to him that he was being taken home. ... What occurred demonstrates the continuing need for the City to provide support to our children and families and to invest in alternative response options to assist our officers." (More Syracuse stories.)

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