The police say a viral video depicting officers pepper-spraying and handcuffing a teen suspected of skipping school was justified because the boy was violent.
In one of several videos of the Oct. 8 incident, 16-year-old Tariq (last name unknown), reportedly a sophomore at Granby High School, is held against a police car by two Norfolk, Va., officers, one of whom says, “I’m trying to search your pockets.”
Tariq yells that he’s trying to comply but, “You’re pulling me to the ground, you’re pulling me down.” The officer answers, “I don’t have to explain myself to you,” while witnesses try to calm the situation. “You don’t get to treat black people like that,” one person yells at the officers, who are white (Tariq is black).
Tariq’s spokesperson Michael Muhammad told theVirginian-Pilot that prior to the struggle, the officers tried to stop Tariq as he walked down the street, but the teen refused. After stopping the car, one “snatched” Tariq’s shirt and bag “in a very aggressive way.” After the teen tells the officers to stop touching him, one grabs him, unleashing his pepper spray in Tariq’s face.
The Norfolk Police Department is investigating a video that is circulating on Facebook which shows two Norfolk Police…
On Friday, Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone released a statement about the viral video, in which he said, “Two officers observed a juvenile walking in the 200 block of East 19th Street. High school dismissal time in Norfolk is 2:05 p.m. and there have been 210 larcenies reported in that area since January 1, 2018. It is the responsibility of the Norfolk Police Department to attempt to abate those larcenies. Under those circumstances, an investigative stop is appropriate. In the course of investigating this matter, one of the officers was struck twice by the juvenile. The officer then told the juvenile to put his hands behind his back, instead he placed his hand in his front pocket which resulted in the use of OC spray.”
Boone said the interaction was recorded on an officer’s body camera. “Based on the facts and circumstances of this case, I believe that the officer’s use of force was in accordance with the policies and procedures of the Norfolk Police Department,” he wrote. The Virginian-Pilot reports that Boone told the family that Tariq would be criminally charged with a misdemeanor after an investigation.
The chief stated in his memo that, two days after the incident, he met with Tariq, his family, and their attorney, Don Scott (who did not return Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment), allowing them to view the body camera footage.
Witness Larry Ricks, 38, told the Virginian-Pilot that while the officer who grabbed Tariq was not forceful, the use of pepper spray was unnecessary. An officer also reportedly told Ricks that he stopped Tariq to talk but the boy “gave us attitude.”
Ricks told the news outlet that the officer who used pepper spray had fished a pencil from Tariq’s pocket and said, “See, he could’ve stabbed me in the face with this pencil.” And an officer found an ankle monitor on Tariq’s body, remarking sarcastically, “See, I guess he’s never been in any trouble before.”
On Oct. 10, Tariq retraced his steps for reporters at the Virginian-Pilot, standing with his mother, Crystal White, Muhammad, and Scott — who insisted that police misconduct was a factor. “They didn’t press charges against him at the time it occurred — in fact, they put him in a police car and took him home to his mother,” said Scott, adding, “That video does not look like community policing at its best.”
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