T.I. is questioning why a group of Black teenagers in a community near Atlanta, Georgia were held at gunpoint by a police officer. The “Whatever You Like” rapper spoke at a press conference Tuesday (June 16) and asked why we only see people of color being killed at the hands of police.
“Why don’t we ever see little white kids being held at gunpoint?” he asked. “The Constitution was written for all Americans. Except it only seems like you have to be a certain shade or a certain color to reap the benefits of it. Why are only people of color—young black boys, young black girls—being gunned down at the hands of policemen and using excuses like BB guns, water guns?”
He continued, “[There are] little white boys that got real rifles, go hunting every day, every week with their grandparents and parents; they ain’t being held at gunpoint ... Let’s not mix words and pretend like we don’t understand what we’re dealing with.”
According to the viral video of the incident, on Monday (June 15), a Clayton County police officer was seen pointing his gun at a group of Black unarmed teens as onlookers pleaded with him to put his weapon down.
Police say they received a call from a local gas station clerk accusing the teens of allegedly stealing from the store and waving a gun. Another caller said the boys were allegedly in the parking lot playing with a gun and fighting. An officer found the group as they traveled on foot through a shortcut in a nearby neighborhood.
The officer told bystanders that it’s “one against five” and that he had his gun out because “he was being safe.” Witnesses could be heard shouting, “They are kids. What did they do?” Another voice shouted, “This is too much. They babies,” while the boys stood with their hands in the air.
Once backup arrived, the boys were patted down and taken back to the store. Authorities say video surveillance showed them playing with a gun and the teens said that it was a BB gun, which they discarded earlier. The gun was later found. None of the boys were arrested or taken into custody. Many communities leaders are calling for the police officer involved to be fired.
Watch footage from the incident below.