Patricia Preston says her 10-year-old son was chased by police with their guns drawn in Newark, New Jersey. The incident, which occurred two weeks ago, came about when police were reportedly looking for an armed robbery suspect. According to a Facebook post and witness accounts, Preston's son Legend was chasing a loose basketball in the street when Newark Police Department officers pulled out their guns and ordered him to stop.
"I ran because they thought that I rolled the ball into the street on purpose, and they were just holding shotguns at me, trying to shoot me," Legend told local news station ABC7.
Apparently, the police were looking for 20-year-old Casey Joseph Robinson, an armed robbery suspect with dreadlocks who they eventually found and apprehended. The police told ABC7 that they had their guns drawn but never pointed them at the 10-year-old, but that wasn't enough to calm Legend's mother, who posted about the incident on Facebook.
Witnesses allegedly surrounded the boy to protect him from the cops and insisted he had done nothing wrong. According to Preston, the police then told them that he had fit the description of the armed robber, and insisted that they — or Legend's mom — could file a report if they had an issue.
The Newark Police Department did not respond to a request for comment.
"The man they were looking for was over 6ft dark with long locs," Legend's mom wrote in her Facebook post. "They yelled 'he fit the description!!'"
The incident is making headlines at a particularly sensitive time, only a year after the officer who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice avoided facing charges related to the incident.
A Plus reached out to several police community relations organizations who declined to comment on this incident until more details are released. We do know, though, that police departments across the country are making serious efforts to mend the divide between them and low-income communities and communities of color.
In Wichita, Kansas, police held a joint barbeque with Black Lives Matter activists to promote unity in their city. Before the shootings in Dallas, an officer posed with protesters as a symbol of togetherness. Similar actions have been seen in response to police and protestor violence all over the country.
Still, incidents like this are a reminder that there is a long way to go.
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