A terrified 10-year-old Chicago boy was handcuffed outside of his grandmother’s house by a Chicago police officer on Friday (June 1). The police mistakenly identified Michael Thomas Jr. of being a juvenile runaway with a gun, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
On Wednesday, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said that police “followed all of the rules and protocols” during the arrest and cuffed Thomas “for safety reasons.”
“Keep in mind, this is difficult for an officer to tell right off the bat if you’re 10 years old, 12 years old [or] 14,” Johnson said. “So they handcuffed the kid for safety reasons because he did match that description. They followed all the rules and protocols that we have in place. So I’m not concerned about that at all.”
A viral video that surfaced online shows that while the unidentified officers detained Thomas, who had wet his pants, bystanders swiftly came to the scared boy’s defense and claimed him as a child of their community. “That’s our kid,” one person can be heard saying in the clip.
The cops justified their actions by saying that Thomas ran when they tried to arrest him. “Listen, we got a call about a person who broke out of juvenile hall in blue,” one cop said. “We get out the car; that’s when he starts running, that’s why he’s in handcuffs.”
Johnson promises to investigate the incident, though Thomas’ mother, Starr Ramsey, says that the boy, whose father was also killed by police according to someone on the video, will most likely be “scarred for the rest of his life now.”
“They need to apologize,” Ramsey said.