Syracuse mayor responds to viral video of police accosting 8-year-old boy accused of stealing chips

Social media users who have viewed the video contend that officers traumatized the child instead of talking to him humanely.

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The mayor of Syracuse is responding to a viral video of his city’s police officers putting an 8-year-old boy in the back of a squad car after he was accused of stealing a bag of chips. 

Mayor Ben Walsh said of the video, which was recorded on Easter Sunday, that the officers did not handcuff the boy. “The officer knew the child from prior interactions and explained to him that he was being taken home,” Walsh said. “The officers returned the child to his family and discussed the incident with his father before leaving without filing any charges,” he said, according to Syracuse.com

Walsh has requested that Chief Ken Buckner and the Syracuse Police Department review all of the incident’s body camera footage, which went viral after bystanders shared it on social media. One of the videos has been viewed nearly 200,000 times. 

Syracuse police officers restrain an 8-year-old boy suspected of stealing a bag of chips. They placed the child in a patrol car, according to bystander reports. (Screenshot, YouTube)

The video has garnered thousands of responses on social media. One Twitter response reads, “First, it doesn’t take 3 cops to sort this out. Second, snatch the bag from the kid, have him go to the store and apologize. If a member of the community says they will rectify it, then let them. Stop using force where being humane would have yielded a better response.” It has garnered more than 40,000 likes. 

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump also shared the video on Twitter, writing: “Syracuse (NY) police officers detained an 8-YEAR-OLD for allegedly stealing a bag of Doritos! Rather than talking to him or handling this incident in a different way, officers chose to escalate this incident and detain an obviously terrified young boy! How traumatizing is this?!” 

Mayor Walsh added, “What occurred demonstrates the continuing need for the city to provide support to our children and families and to invest in alternative response options to assist our officers.” 

The sentiment was echoed on social media. One Twitter user wrote, “#Syracuse police. Clearly don’t live in the neighborhood, understand community policing, or how to be decent men who use restraint and guiding words with kids and not scare them to death and terrorize the adults over possible minor infraction.” 

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