On Monday (April 11), police officers in Maplewood, Minnesota handcuffed and detained four minors — three of them Black and one Hispanic — before releasing them. Now parents and local activists are demanding change.
When officers arrived, they found the kids near the area and handcuffed them. The children include a 16-year-old, two 12-year-olds and a 10-year-old. They were released after authorities determined they had no connection to the 911 call. While officers claim to have held the minors for about 40 minutes, some parents of the kids say that it went on for over two hours.
Toshira Garraway, the mother of the 16-year-olds said, “It might seem small to them, putting kids in handcuffs and throwing them in the back of their car might seem small to them, but this could go on with them, they could think about this for the rest of their life.”
Garraway happens to be an activist and founder of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence.
Later accompanied by attorney Jeff Storms, Garraway tearfully told the Maplewood Police Department, “I got the scariest call any mother can receive — my baby begging for my help.” She continued, “This isn’t how you treat people’s children.”
The four had been walking from home to a local McDonald’s when they were stopped.
Storms said, “This type of conduct to children that young is what precipitates intergenerational distrust of law enforcement.” He continued, “Despite the fact they did nothing wrong they were still handcuffed and put in squad cars.”
The mother of one of the 12-year-olds handcuffed — Tanya Gile — said she was in tears when her son returned home saying he had been arrested. Gile said her son told her, “Mom, I got arrested. Mom, we weren’t doing anything. We were walking home from McDonald’s.”
Garraway is now asking the Maplewood Police Department to change its policy on detaining and handcuffing children.
Lt. Joe Steiner with Maplewood police gave a statement saying, “Our officers acted very professionally and how we would expect them to act. And again we’re proud of the work and the response in this incident.”