The community has questions for police patrolling a Minnesota park after they handcuffed and drew a gun on four unarmed Black children ages 9-12 earlier this week.
Park goer Brianna Lindell re-hashed the incident in a now viral Facebook post. Lidell says she was in Minnehaha Falls Park with her partner when she came upon a white teenager verbally harassing the group of Black children with racial slurs, brandishing a metal trash can lid, and saying that he had a knife.
Police officers swooped in and amazingly the Black children were the ones put in handcuffs, with at least one officer drawing his weapon. Lindell says she asked the officer why he was arresting the kids.
“I asked the cop why he was arresting the kids as they’d done nothing wrong and he said they had received a call that the kids had a gun. We were approached by the people who had been deescalating earlier who told us that both cops had jumped out of their cars, guns already drawn, with the guns right in the children’s faces. The family was also black and the mother said her and her son had ran and hid when the police arrived because they were waving their guns around. Her little boy kept asking if they were going to be arrested too.”
The children were found to be unarmed.
Parks Department Response
With Lindell’s post garnering tens of thousands of shares, the Parks Department was compelled to speak about about the incident. Minneapolis Park Board President Brad Bourn acknowledged the situation on Facebook. He asked for assistance in gathering more information and said that all the kids involved were safe at home with their families.
Bourn then followed up that Facebook post with a news conference, which was covered by MPR News.
Teens were released after claims found to be unfounded. Officials say falsely reporting a crime is a crime. Asking public to help piece things together. pic.twitter.com/fm7IsMvFcv
— Elizabeth Dunbar (@edunbarMPR) July 11, 2018
“We have serious questions about the validity of what was reported in the 911 call,” said Bourn at the press conference. No word on the employment status of the officer who drew his weapon or what, if anything, would be done once/if the 911 caller is identified.