The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is investigating after three Black teenagers were held at gunpoint by deputies after they were allegedly chased by a man with a knife.
Video of the incident that was originally posted on Facebook shows the teens standing in the bus shed with their arms raised as deputies pointed their weapons at them, even as bystanders responded in outrage.
“It’s not them,” several people could be heard yelling.
“Put your guns down. They’re kids,” another person adds.
One woman could be heard repeatedly telling the teens to “keep your hands up” as the officers hold them at gunpoint.
Yet another woman could be heard identifying herself as the manager of a nearby Buffalo Wild Wings and the one who called police to report “a male Hispanic outside the parking lot chasing three African-American kids with a knife,” as Buzzfeed notes.
“There’s a crazy man running around our parking lot chasing kids, trying to stab them, and you come here and approach the kids that we’re trying to help like that with guns,” she argued. “And the crazy man is running down the street with a knife.”
Eventually, one by one they walk backward toward the deputies, who handcuff them and place them in squad cars. However, according to NBC Los Angeles, no one was arrested.
The deputies claimed that they were responding to a call about men who matched the descriptions of the teenagers. According to the sheriff’s department, they received no other calls about a knife attack.
Nonetheless, the LA County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the incident and the video even as the parents of two of the teens try to come to terms with what happened.
“I know that my son will never forget this experience. Especially after George Floyd, I sat him down and talked to him about how to respond if he was ever approached by police, so he knew exactly what to do,” Collins said. “How to follow orders, not to say anything, not to do anything out of character. So to see how they treated the boys, it was literally heartbreaking. I couldn’t watch the full video.”
Robert Brown, a lawyer representing the families of the three teenagers involved, noted that right now the young men are focused on “processing the situation and healing” from the “traumatizing” incident that saw their lives threatened not once, but twice.
“The young men are still shaken up by the incident. It was traumatizing. After having been attacked with knife, minutes later, they experienced numerous police officer pointing guns at them,” Brown said. “So [two] life and death situations in a matter of minutes. At this time, it has been decided that the young men should not speak about what happened and that they should focus on processing the situation and healing.”