T.I. joins calls for Georgia officer to be fired after holding 5 teens at gunpoint
A confrontation between police and a group of teens goes viral in Clayton County, Georgia.
As if there weren’t already enough issues about policing around the country and in Georgia this week, more police officers have been recorded treating unarmed African American males as a threat.
In this case, the victims of racial profiling were teenagers. Video circulated on social media today of white officers in Clayton County, Georgia drawing their guns on a group of teenagers.
This was in response to a 911 call where a store owner in the area called police saying the teens were trying to steal from the store and that one of the teens was waving a gun.
According to 11 Alive, the teens were shadowboxing near a convenience store in their neighborhood and then used a local short cut. Somehow or another, as the video begins in the middle of the confrontation, as the teens are standing on the grass with their hands on their heads, more than one officer has his gun trained on them.
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If this community in Clayton County Georgia didn’t come out for them, I wonder if one of these little boys wouldn’t have made it home. It’s important that we as a community protect OUR CHILDREN! The kids were shadow boxing near the conventient store, playing with each other as kids do. The community begged the officer to put his gun away. Police Harassment is real!!! A gun before a taser on black CHILDREN?
This is what you see in the video.
As bystanders question why the officers have guns out, one answers, “I’m being safe.” You can hear others asking the officers not to shoot and the officer says, “Nobody got disrespected, nobody got hurt.”
But Clayton County police released 17 minutes of the altercation, in which an officer asks the teens not to move and hold their hands up. He also asks why the store owner thinks that one of the teens had a gun. As a crowd forms, the officer calls for backup asking the teens to ignore the gathering crowd and pay attention to his commands so that no one gets hurt.
In a statement, Clayton County police and their chief Kevin Roberts explained the reason for the stop.
“Due to the allegation that the juveniles were in possession of a gun, the officer approached them with his duty weapon drawn and pointed at the juveniles. The officer lowered the weapon once the juveniles complied with the officer’s verbal commands to stop and show their hands.”
The teens were frisked and were unarmed. After viewing the store’s surveillance tape, police say they did see what looked like a gun. The teens admitted to an officer that it was a BB gun they had thrown away in the bushes that police say looked like a real gun.
According to police, the teens were then told that playing with a gun that looked so realistic could be dangerous.
You can see the entire video via the police officer’s body cam below:
At a press conference today, one of the teens and his mother was joined by rapper Clifford “T.I.” Harris, who spoke on behalf of them and their families.
“Why don’t we ever see little white kids being held a gunpoint? Period. The constitution was written for all Americans except it seems like you only have to be a certain shade or a certain color to reap the benefits of it,” T.I. said.
“Why are only people of color, young Black boys, young Black girls being gunned down at the hands of policemen and suing excuses like BB guns, water guns,” the rapper, who was born and resides in Atlanta, asked. “There are little white boys that real rifles that go hunting every day, every week with their grandparents and parents. They aren’t being held at gunpoint. Let’s not mix words and understand what we dealing with here.”
Shanelle Williams is the bystander who recorded the video and put in on her Facebook page. She asked the police to be held accountable.
“We’re saying, we would like to see revisions. And not just your revisions. We want you to give your community an opportunity to say, ‘this is how we want you to police us.’ I think that is the only thing that they can do as of right now.
“What would have happened if the community didn’t show up and show out for them that day? … if one of those kids made the wrong move, what would have happened?” she asked.
One of the teens involved in the incident is 13. T.I. and the teen’s mother said he has been traumatized.
“I thought I was going to die,” the teen, only identified as Kamari, said. “I’ve seen all these Black kids just dying and to have myself in that, it was just crazy.”
A protest is planned for Wednesday.
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