BOSTON (WHDH) - Forced to the ground by Northeastern University police, a 13-year-old boy was caught on a cellphone video pleading with officers to let him go — saying there has been a misunderstanding.
The shocking scene happened just outside the Columbus Avenue Parking Garage, which is situated on university property, on Veterans Day. College officials said police saw him walking toward a busy toddler playground with what appeared to be a gun.
The weapon the boy was carrying later turned out to be a realistic-looking BB gun, police said.
A witness said the boy told officers he was carrying a BB gun but they placed him into handcuffs anyway.
“I didn’t understand why those two officers looked like my dog Rio when he’s about to attack a squirrel,” Jordan Clark said. “They were like eyes on guard, ready to go.”
Clark, a Northeastern graduate, saw the whole thing play out and took out his cellphone to record.
He can be heard interacting with the boy and the plainclothes officers about the weapon.
“Dude, he’s crying,” Clark yelled to the officers.
Despite the perceived threat, Clark said the officers’ reaction was too forceful.
“He wasn’t brandishing it. He wasn’t pointing it at anybody,” he said. “I would view that as non-violent and that’s the OK, standard protocol way to handle it? That’s what scares me.”
City Councilor Andrea Campbell, who is running for mayor, weighed in on the incident, tweeting, “There is no justice without accountability and transparency … we need universal body camera policies for all law enforcement that operate in the city.”
There is no justice without accountability and transparency. This incident, the ICE arrest in East Boston yesterday, and ICE stop in W. Roxbury, all show why we need universal body camera policies for all law enforcement that operate in the city. https://t.co/aP2hDsDljQ
— Andrea J. Campbell (@andreaforboston) November 18, 2020
The university said they stand behind their officers, saying that the two men identified themselves and did what they needed to do to keep the community safe.
In a statement, the college said it is illegal in Massachusetts to bring firearms of any kind onto a school campus and that, “the university is grateful that the officers were able to contain the situation and keep the community safe.”
Clark’s video ends with the officers saying they would straighten everything out. But Clark said what happened cannot just be made right.
“It’s no big deal?” he is heard saying on the recording. “It’s a big deal! You can’t put someone in handcuffs and tell them it’s no big deal.”
Police confiscated the BB gun and once they were able to determine the boy’s age, they took him home and released him to his parents.
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