A video going viral on social media showing cops in New York detaining an 8-year-old boy accused of stealing a bag of chips worth $3 is sparking debate as to whether the cops acted too aggressively towards the child.
Syracuse police say the boy was never handcuffed or charged with a crime. Instead, he was driven to his father’s house along with his two brothers who were also accused of stealing.
The video was recorded by a man named Kenneth Jackson who posted the video to his Facebook page where it has been viewed more than 51,000 times as of this writing.
Jackson, 37, said he was doing errands in the area when he saw the cops snatch the boy off a bicycle, causing the bag of chips to burst open and spill all over the ground.
“If he stole some chips, I’ll pay for them,” Jackson told the cops manhandling the child who was crying.
Syracuse police published a statement on Facebook stating that the boy was never charged or handcuffed and was taken to his father. They also said they will further investigate the incident by reviewing body camera footage.
And commenters to the Facebook post were divided over the police response to the alleged shoplifting incident.
Some commenters like Hasan Stephens said the incident was a clear example of systemic racism in the criminal justice system.
This makes the officers look real bad. Smh. Not just the act, but the response. Everyone is focused on whether or not he was placed in handcuffs. It’s the lack of community service (pun intended). We are to accept a lack of professionalism across the board because of the power dynamics? Smh.
And… the power dynamics are only as such because of systemic racism. Public servant means just that. However, we never seem to be able to actualize and experience that. Outsiders to a system that on paper is supposed to protect and serve us. It feels more like it serves those that don’t look like us and protects them from us. All across America, there are communities where the police know little “Johnny” and escort him home to be chastised by his parents WITHOUT the force of manhandling him.
While other commenters like Jacquelyn Burns defended the police and blamed the boys’ parents for failing to teach them not to steal.
Good job Syracuse Police!!! This punk in his brothers have been a menace to the north side of Syracuse I’d like to know why the parents aren’t being held responsible for these juvenile delinquents. At least CPS should be involved in their lives on a daily basis poor parenting skills at your finest.
And other commenters like Noelle AJ believes the incident exposes a much larger problem like poverty and hunger.
I’m just curious, what if instead of police intervention this child received social supports that determines why he stole food or provided for his needs? Many people are quick to want to punish, but never ask why this happened. This child will be forever influence (good or bad remains to be seen) by this interaction. I think we can do better.
But the one issue that nobody can deny is the video exposes a huge distrust towards police officers which has resulted in citizens whipping out their cameras to record questionable incidents without fear.
And that ultimately is a good thing because it creates more transparency into the actions of police.