Miami police put 14-year-old in choke hold for 'dehumanizing stares'

The mother of a 14-year-old arrested over Memorial Day weekend on a Miami beach is accusing police of brutality, after officers forced her son to the ground and put him in a choke hold. Police accuse the teen of “clenching his fists” and giving officers “dehumanizing stares.”

Maurissa Holmes, of Miami Gardens, took her family to Haulover Beach for a Memorial Day picnic, and says her son, Tremaine McMillian, was horsing around with friends in the water and playing with his new puppy, when he was approached by two police officers on ATVs. Holmes told theGrio the officers, after realizing the teens weren’t actually fighting, ordered Tremaine to take them to his mother. She says her son complied. The officers say he didn’t.

“As he was walking towards me I see the officers walking behind him with the puppy in one hand and the bottle to nurse the puppy in the other hand,” she told theGrio, saying the officers grabbed Tremaine. “They slammed him to the ground, they choked him, to where he couldn’t breathe and he urinated on himself. I kept asking them to please get off my child because he can’t breathe. They kept saying ‘get back, get back.'”

Holmes captured the arrest on her cell phone camera.

Police tell a different story, saying in a police report obtained by theGrio that Tremaine pulled away from the officers, clenched his fists, and said to stop following him, despite walking toward his mother, and that he gave them “dehumanizing stares.”

A Miami-Dade Police spokesman, Det. Javier Baez, told theGrio by phone on Thursday: “if you clench your fist that’s a sign of aggression, we have the ability to defuse that situation and redirect you in order to defuse the situation,” with “redirect” referring to forcing the teen onto the ground.

Holmes insists her son “wasn’t doing anything wrong except bringing them towards me.” She says the police grabbing Tremaine caused him to drop the puppy, injuring its leg, and that she has had to give the puppy away this week, because she can’t afford the veterinary bill.

Tremaine, a student at Carol City Middle School, was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting an officer with violence. He has a July 16th court date, and has been assigned a public defender.

“I’m angry because you don’t do a child like that,” Holmes said. “What if it was one of their children? That’s a minor.” She accused police of putting “whatever they wanted to put in the police report to try and make the charges stick.”

Tremaine told theGrio the incident has left him “sad.” He said one of the officers told him during the arrest that if he was an adult, “all my bones would be broken.”

“It made me feel sad because I didn’t get to have fun or eat with my family on Memorial Day,” Tremaine said. “And for them doing that it make me not like police, period.”

Holmes said she has spoken to a lawyer about taking legal action, once her son’s criminal case is resolved.

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