Louisiana officials are conducting an investigation into the violent arrest of a Black teen at the hands of a veteran officer.
According to Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul, the cop — who has been working on the force for 12 years — was reportedly responding to calls of arguing teens holding baseball bats in the area.
On Sunday (Feb. 21), video surfaced of a Baton Rouge officer pinning the 13-year-old to the ground before wrapping his arms around the teen’s neck. Bystanders begged for the cop to stop, noting the 13-year-old “wasn’t doing anything,” but despite the pleas, he waited a while before he moved.
One person could be heard screaming, “You’re choking him,” to which the officer responds, letting go of his hold and arresting the Black teen. The 13-year-old was taken to a juvenile detention center where he was charged with battery of a police officer, resisting arrest and disturbing the police.
“I want our community to know that the relationship between our community and the police is very important to me....,” Mayor Sharon Weston Broome said in a statement. “It is incumbent on me to use my role as mayor to bring attention to those that are questionable in order to help build public trust and ultimately encourage the best policing tactics from our officers. I am resolute that we will have a unified and safe Baton Rouge. We will solve our toughest issues together.”
After watching video of the disturbing footage, the teen’s family hired lawyer Ron Haley to handle the case.
“Too many times in our community we see obvious police misconduct go unchecked and unpunished,” Haley said in a statement, according to the Advocate. “No unarmed child should be choked and manhandled by a police officer. If that officer did not have a badge or uniform on, and was an adult on the ground with a child in that manner, he’d be arrested. Nowhere should an unarmed 13-year-old, who is not a danger to himself or others, be treated like a grown-up.”