A mother has hit out at Michigan cops after her 11-year-old twins were handcuffed at gunpoint by officers.
Juanita Ligon, says her boys – who are African American – were racially profiled during the incident on August 26 in Grand Rapids.
Police body camera footage shows the brothers, Martrell and Martrez Coston, both 11, and a 17-year-old male family friend, being cuffed.
Grand Rapids police is investigating, but Chief David Rahinsky defended his officers’ actions while responding to a report of juveniles with a handgun.
Each boy was briefly handcuffed and searched. All of the boys were later released without being charged after no guns were found.
Cops were initially dispatched around 8pm after receiving a report of at least two black males around the age 13 with a handgun, according to the Grand Rapids Press. The report said one boy was wearing a red shirt, and the other a black top.
When officers responded, they found the Coston twins and the 17-year-old, who is also black – about half a mile away. Coincidentally one was wearing a red shirt, and another a black shirt.
In the video, the boy in the red top can be heard crying as officers explain what’s happening.
‘We was going to Little Caesars,’ the 11-year-old says through tears. ‘We was coming from home.’
Juanita Ligon (pictured), says her boys – who are African American – were racially profiled
Following the incident, Ligon wrote on social media: ‘Ok Grand Rapids I need someone to lead me to the right agency!!! My 11 yr old boys were racially profiled by officers, placed in cuffs, and guns drawn! This nonsense has to stop! Thank God they know how to respond to officers but they still was afraid.’
Rahinsky told the Grand Rapids Press: ‘What you see in the video is the officers quickly de-escalating the situation. As the (youth) policy states, the officers used the most reasonable and least restrictive measures consistent with public safety.
‘When the allegation is someone has a firearm, the response has to be appropriate. Once officers learned that’s not the case, the youths are un-handcuffed within a minute, their grandfather is contacted, and I think the conversation that ensues shows the officer’s compassion in explaining what happened and why.’
Rahinsky said the 17-year-old had a prior criminal history.
Ligon requested an Internal Affairs Unit review, which is ongoing.
SOURCE: Associated Press / Daily Mail – Jenny Stanton