The community is looking for answers after three young boys between 9 and 12 were detained by up to seven police officers on the Hill last Saturday, Dec. 22nd.
Video of the incident was posted to social media by Hill resident Ariel Gory. In her post, she wrote that she began filming the boys when they were first stopped and questioned by three bicycle police near her home in Southeast DC. “I saw 3 little boys being questioned by police officers and as an educator, sister, aunt and woman of color this concerned me,” she said in response to an inquiry from the Hill Rag.
“I immediately thought of the Black men, women and children who have been involved in interactions like these and have ended up in jail, injured or dead. I felt a responsibility to these little boys to make sure that whatever happened, good or bad, their story would be told,” she said.
Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) First District Commander Morgan Kane said that the officers stopped the boys after receiving a call from a bystander about an elderly man at the CVS store located at 500 12th Street being threatened and followed by three young juveniles ages approximately 10-12 years of age.
The call included descriptions of the clothing worn by the juveniles, who were said to have knives in their possession, and said that the boys were in the 1200 block of E Street SE.
The three boys who were stopped on the 1300 block of E Street were wearing similar clothing to what was provided in the description to police, Kane said.
Three Boys, Seven Officers
Gory said the three officers who initially stopped the boys suggested that they go back to the CVS to apologize to the man. “[The officers] concluded that the situation was likely a misunderstanding and that heading to CVS to essentially clear the air was the next best step. Had the interaction ended there I would have put away my phone and went back inside my home,” Gory said.
However, as the officers accompanied the boys, four more officers stopped the group outside of Frager’s Hardware where the boys were questioned for an additional forty-five minutes.
“It was frightening and seemed excessive,” Gory said, adding that the boys seemed worried and scared and that one cried as he was detained.
The three boys were ultimately released to family members after being in police custody for over an hour.
“We are currently reviewing this incident,” Kane said in an email to the Hill Rag. “As you know, as an agency our goal is always to ensure respectful encounters as we go about performing our duties to protect and serve, whether they are in response to a police call for service, or self-initiated encounters taken by our members.”
The police report notes that all three boys were subjected to a pat-down, but no weapons were found. The man identified as a victim in the incident did not want to press charges.
In the new year, Commissioner-Elect Corey Holman (6B06) will assume office in Single Member District (SMD) 6B06 where the incident took place. On Twitter, Holman wrote that the actions were unacceptable and that he would be demanding answers.
These actions by the @DCPoliceDept are unacceptable and my first contact as ANC will be with Commander Kane to stress this and demand answers. And of course as a constituent of @charlesallen I will continue to ask for full implementation of the NEAR act. https://t.co/LlV1AqQcnk
— Corey Holman (@coreyholman) December 24, 2018
In a Christmas Day tweet, Commissioner Denise Krepp (6B10) announced that MPD would brief Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B on the incident in a public meeting to be held 7 p.m. January 15, 2019 at the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital (921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE). All are welcome to attend.