Officers in Michigan held 5 unarmed children at gunpoint, body camera footage shows

Officers in Michigan held 5 unarmed children at gunpoint, body camera footage shows
Source: YouTube
Source: YouTube

Children should have the right to walk down the street without being harassed. But on March 24, police officers did the unthinkable: They held five black, unarmed children at gunpoint on their way home from a local recreational center in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Soon after, according to newly released video footage, a swarm of police officers surrounded the five children and told them to put their arms up and lay face down on the ground. The video footage clearly shows that the children were unarmed.

The incident terrorized the young boys, who were between the ages of 12 and 14. In the video footage, one boy could be heard asking "What did we do?" Another begged, "Can you please put your guns down?" Sobbing can be heard in the footage. "I don't want to die," one of the boys in the video said.


The children were allegedly targeted after witnesses claimed a young man dropped his gun during a fight that broke out earlier. Police said the boys matched the description and had to stop them on their walk home. Granted, these were not the suspects the police were hunting down.

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss issued a statement to apologize for the incident. "The mayor is working with city leadership on a plan to review GRPD policies and procedures as part of the larger conversation around community and police relations," the statement read. "The review will include how GRPD responds to incidents involving youth."

Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky said the police officers acted professionally, but offered an apology to the families of the five boys. "I apologized to the young men and their families with a sincere apology and an explanation that the officers involved were following up on information in our ongoing efforts to keep everyone in this community safe," Rahinsky said in an April 11 city commission meeting.

You can watch the video footage below:

Source: YouTube

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Sarah A. Harvard

Sarah is a staff writer covering religion, race and politics. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Atlantic, Slate, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, and VICE. Send tips and feedback: sharvard@mic.com

MORE FROM

Man spends five months on Rikers Island without knowing his bail was $2

Now Aitabdel Salem is suing both the city and his Legal Aid lawyers.

FBI agent indicted in LaVoy Finicum shooting as police evade punishment for killing black people

Finicum was killed during the 2016 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Alton Sterling’s children sue Baton Rouge over shooting, alleging racism and excessive force

The Sterling family alleges that police officers sent racist text messages about people who protested the black man's shooting death.

3 Chicago officers charged with conspiracy in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald

The three Chicago police officers allegedly conspired to prevent an independent investigation and prosecution against Officer Jason Van Dyke.

Video shows officer threatening black man for jaywalking without an ID

The officer is not currently under investigation.

Black teens handcuffed for selling water on National Mall are now getting job offers

"I feel like it was a bad situation turned into a good situation."

Man spends five months on Rikers Island without knowing his bail was $2

Now Aitabdel Salem is suing both the city and his Legal Aid lawyers.

FBI agent indicted in LaVoy Finicum shooting as police evade punishment for killing black people

Finicum was killed during the 2016 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Alton Sterling’s children sue Baton Rouge over shooting, alleging racism and excessive force

The Sterling family alleges that police officers sent racist text messages about people who protested the black man's shooting death.

3 Chicago officers charged with conspiracy in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald

The three Chicago police officers allegedly conspired to prevent an independent investigation and prosecution against Officer Jason Van Dyke.

Video shows officer threatening black man for jaywalking without an ID

The officer is not currently under investigation.

Black teens handcuffed for selling water on National Mall are now getting job offers

"I feel like it was a bad situation turned into a good situation."