An investigation is underway in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after an officer pinned a 13-year-old boy to the ground with his arm under the child’s neck. Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome addressed the matter during a press conference on Monday, saying she and Police Chief Murphy Paul have reviewed the police-worn body camera footage of the incident, according to CNN.
“I have viewed the short snippet of video and snapshots shared via social media,” Broome said in the statement, The Advocate reported. “The actions I viewed prompted me to contact our chief of police to ensure he was aware of this situation.”
The video clip, which was partially posted to Twitter, doesn’t show what happened before or after the incident. But the footage captures witnesses pleading with the officer to show mercy during the confrontation.
“He’s a boy, get off of him!” the crowd can be heard saying as the officer struggles with the teen. “You’re choking him.”
The witnesses also told the officer that the boy was only playing basketball.
A video is circulating showing a @BRPD officer trying to arrest a teen. The family says, the teen, 13, was allegedly mistaken for someone else when the incident occurred.
They say, tonight he’s home, but they want answers from the department on what’s they’re calling excessive. pic.twitter.com/G6LYJVZlmX
— Jonah Gilmore (@JonahMGilmore) February 22, 2021
Paul said officers responded to two disturbance calls on Sunday at the same location. While police were able to de-escalate the situation during the first call without arrests, two juveniles were taken into custody during the second call, less than an hour later.
Police said one of the children was taken back to a parent, while the other was booked on charges of battery of an officer.
The family of the 13-year-old has viewed full video of the incident. The city and police department have asked the court to release the full footage to the public.
Civil rights attorney Ron Haley, Jr., who represents the teen’s family, said the full clip shows a more complete version of the incident.
“I commend Chief Paul for being consistent when it comes to these critical incidents,” Haley told CNN. “It’s been 24 hours and the department has gotten information to the parents and attorneys and we have viewed the video.”
Haley said last year’s protests, sparked by the killing of George Floyd, have created heightened tensions in the country, but he’s asking for the public’s patience.
“I am asking for patience until the footage is released,” he said. “I’m sure (my client) didn’t wake on up Sunday believing he would be in the middle of a civil rights issue captivating the city. That is a lot of pressure on a young person.”
Broome has promised full transparency during the investigation.
“We have worked tirelessly to close this gap between our police officers and the citizens of our community,” Broome said. “We will not skirt around these issues. I will make sure this is thoroughly investigated.”
Haley said the boy was arrested, charged with battery of a police officer and released into the custody of his parents. The officer is not currently facing disciplinary action or leave, but an investigation is being conducted to determine if any policies were violated.
As Blavity previously reported, Democratic congressional leaders introduced the Justice in Policing Act last year. The bills calls for the creation of a National Police Misconduct Registry and proposes a federal ban on chokeholds that was used to kill Floyd and Eric Garner.