Officer points gun at black teens in video; police explain - InfoNews

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Officer points gun at black teens in video; police explain

June 16, 2020 - 5:55 PM

ATLANTA - A video showing an officer in a community near Atlanta pointing a gun at group of teenagers has gone viral, with viewers voicing their disdain for the officer's behaviour.

The video starts in the middle of the incident and shows a Clayton County police officer pointing a gun at five black teenagers, while a crowd pleads with him to put the gun down. The ages of the teens weren't immediately released.

Police said they received a call Monday night from a gas station clerk stating teens were inside the store stealing from the business and waving a gun, news outlets reported. Another caller said the teens left the store and were in the parking lot playing with a gun and fighting.

Police said the officer located the group of teens described by the clerk and he pulled out his gun because of reports that they were armed.

In the video, the officer tells bystanders that it's “one against five" and that he had his gun out because “he was being safe."

Unidentified voices in the video could be heard shouting, “They are kids. What did they do?” Another voice cries, “This is too much. They babies.”

Body camera footage shows the officer talking to the teens, instructing them to stay still so “no one gets hurt.” He also tells them not to pay attention to the crowd.

When backup arrives, police patted the teens down and brought them back to the store.

Police said surveillance video from the store showed the teens playing with a gun. The teens told police it was a BB gun that they threw away. The gun was found and police said it resembled a live semi-automatic pistol.

The teens weren't charged nor were they taken into custody.

In a news conference Tuesday, residents were joined by rapper Clifford “T.I." Harris as they called for the officer's firing.

T.I. asked, “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 colour to reap the benefits."

The officer's name wasn't immediately released.

The incident comes days after Rayshard Brooks, a black man, was fatally shot by a white Atlanta police officer.

“It’s very clear that our police officers are to be guardians and not warriors within our communities,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Monday in announcing she will require officers to continuously undergo de-escalation training.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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