The Grand Rapids Police Department has released video of eight police officers stopping five black youths at gunpoint after they were responding to reports of a fight at nearby basketball courts.
The police reportedly had their weapons out because of a report that one of the youths may have been armed.
In the video, one of the detained youths can be heard crying as he lies on the ground with his hands over his head.
“Can you please put the gun down?” one boy asks.
“I do not want to die, bro,” another says.
The youths tell the officers that they have video on their phones of what has happened even as another boy says, “Don’t shoot me,” as he continues crying.
“We are not about to die we didn’t do nothing,” one of his friends tells him in an attempt to comfort him, and the officers try to comfort them as well.
“Calm down, calm down, it’ll be alright,” Officer Caleb Johnson said. “They’ll give you directions, OK?”
Eventually, other officers arrived on the scene, and the boys each stood up one by one before they were detained.
Police Chief David Rahinsky said that he hoped the release of the video would help the community understand the situation and why the department was standing by the officers involved.
“The officers didn’t do anything wrong. They acted on articulate facts from a witness moments earlier who said he saw them hand a gun to each other,” Rahinsky said previously to The Press. “I think when the community sees what we’ve seen — with the body worn camera footage; I think they’ll have a different opinion. I respect their emotion. I think what we’re hearing is a lot of grief and frustration to systemic issues.”