D.C Council member Charles Allen has released a letter to US Park Police Chief Robert MacLean condemning the handcuffing of three young Black teenagers for selling water on the National Mall last week.
The council member said he believed the reaction of the officers would have been different had the teens looked like another group of kids.
“While I understand the need to maintain consistency in permitted actions, I do not understand why the enforcement cannot take place with uniformed personnel and actions less severe than handcuffing individuals suspected of the sales. I can’t help but think how the reaction by these same officers might have varied if different children had set up a quaint hand-painted lemonade stand on the same spot. While still the same violation of selling a beverage without proper permits and licenses, I doubt we would have seen little girls in pigtails handcuffed on the ground.”
He went on to say that these actions and images speak beyond this one incident.
Images of the three handcuffed, young Black kids went viral over the weekend sparking outrage across social media. The witness who took the photos, Tim Krepp said he believed the police officers’ actions went too far.
According to Sgt. Anna Rose of the U.S. Park Police, the teenagers were placed in handcuffs for the safety of the officers and individuals. Rose also said the teens and their belongings were eventually released to their guardians with a warning from the Park Police.