A disturbing video circulating on social media shows three Syracuse police officers placing a Black child in a patrol car after accusing him of stealing from a nearby store.
The footage, captured by a bystander, starts with the child having his hands held behind his back by an officer while two others stand by. Adults walking on the street question the officers’ actions, calling into question the legality of them detaining the young boy and even offering to pay for the alleged stolen chips.
“What is y’all doing?” the person filming says over and over before the officer pushing the child towards the patrol car responds, “Guess. Guess what I’m doing.”
“He look like a baby to me,” the recorder says as the officer repeats, “Guess what I’m doing.”
“I don’t know,” the person filming replies, at which point the officer yells back, “Exactly, you don’t know. You don’t know.”
That’s when another officer steps in front of the camera seemingly attempting to justify why they were putting the child in the backseat of the patrol car.
“He’s stealing stuff. If he breaks into your house and steals stuff…” the second officer begins to say before the person recording cuts him off.
“Nah man. What he stole? A bag of chips? So y’all treat him like a whole cold-blooded f––king killer?”
Later in the clip, the child can be heard screaming from the police car as the adults continue to address the cops. Another bystander again questions the boy’s age and says what the police were doing is against the law. A second child at the scene tried to intervene, telling police the boy they detained did not steal the chips.
“It wasn’t him!” he yelled as the boy in the car continued to scream and cry.
The video has been viewed nearly five million times on Twitter. The Syracuse Police Department released a statement saying they’re aware of the video and that the police officers’ actions are “under review.”
“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,” the statement reads.
Twitter users pointed out that incidents like this traumatize youth and contribute to communities’ mistrust of police.
“Future PTSD for that kid ….smh,” one Twitter user wrote.
“‘Gee, why don’t Black people trust the police?'” someone else added.
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.
Join our email list to stay connected.