Yesterday (April 18), a video — which is now viral — began circulating online, showing members of the Syracuse Police Department forcefully detained a young Black boy who had been accused of stealing a bag of chips.
As the video begins, it shows three police officers — all white men — responding to an alleged theft. One of the officers has the child’s arms behind his back, possibly in handcuffs. The child cries out in pain and fear as he is roughly guided to the back of the police car.
A bystander, who appears to be a Black male, interjects on the boy’s behalf.
“What is ya’ll doing?” the bystander asks.
The officer responds, “Take a guess what I’m doing.”
The bystander fires back, “He looks like a baby to me.” As the man inserts himself into the situation, he says that he saw the officer “snatch him” off of his bike. The man continues to check on the boy’s safety.
Another officer who was already at the scene steps in, but does not offer much comfort.
“He’s stealing stuff. If he breaks into your house and steals stuff,” the officer says before being interrupted by the bystander.
“Nah, man. What he stole, a bag of chips? Ya’ll treating him like a hardcore cold-blooded fucking killer?” the bystander asks with conviction.
The officer tells him to keep walking, claiming the man doesn’t know what he is talking about. The bystander stays as close to the crying boy as possible and with raw emotion says, “I seen ya’ll snatch him off the bike like he a fucking grown-ass man.”
As this had been going on, the boy’s young friends had been observing from a fairly safe distance but one walked up and yelled almost to the point of tears that “it wasn’t him” who had allegedly stolen the chips from a neighborhood store.
This does not seem to sway the officers. While one is still restraining the crying kid, another officer yells, “How old is he? 10 years old? That’s against the law.”
The bystander offers to pay for the chips in exchange for a safe release of the boy.
The video ends with no apparent resolution.
After the video went viral, the Syracuse Police Department released a statement that read, “We are aware of a video being shared on social media involving several of our Officers and juveniles accused of stealing from a store on the City’s northside. The incident, including the Officers’ actions and body-worn cameras, are being reviewed. 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.”
Syracuse police really ? Over a bag of chips ? He’s just a kid. pic.twitter.com/DNOwcuUsvf
— HUNNDO 444 (@HunndoHefner) April 18, 2022