The unnamed boy, who is Black, had been accused of stealing the chips. When an officer grabbed him by the arms to place him in a police car, the boy’s screams and moans permeated the air.
Part of the incident was recorded on video by Kenneth Jackson, who told Syracuse.com that he had pressed the record button on his phone as soon as he saw the boy “dirty” the bike by the police.
“It was just beyond me that they actually treated this baby like this,” he told the newspaper.
Syracuse police said in a statement that it was aware of the incident and would review the officers’ body camera footage. The department clarified that the child was “not handcuffed”, as some people who had seen the video across social media had stated.
The video, which has since gone viral, shows a tense scene when another child says to officers: “It was not him!” At the same time, Jackson and other adults begin arguing with police. One of the officers tries to explain: “These children have stolen from -” before he is cut off by another man shouting: “A bag of chips!” in unbelief.
Jackson offers to pay for the chips or to go home with the kids, but police eventually put the child in the back of the patrol car. Then they pack his bike into the trunk and drive off.
Police took the boy and his two brothers home. Their father, Anthony Weah, told Syracuse.com that the officers were friendly. They did not sue or ask Weah to pay for Doritos. Their calm demeanor left him with nothing to worry about until he later saw the video Jackson had taken, which garnered millions of views after being widely shared on Facebook, Twitter and TikTok.
“You can not treat him like that because of a bag of chips, as if he killed someone,” Weah told WSTM. “He’s not a criminal.”
Weah said he plans to file a complaint with police, according to Syracuse.com.
“Today they did it against my child,” Weah told WSTM. “Tomorrow they will do the same to another child. So today I am more concerned about children in general. They should not be treated like that.”
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, a politically independent, said in a statement Tuesday that officers “knew the child from past interactions,” adding that the incident highlighted “the continuing need for the city to provide support to our children and families and invest in alternative response options to help our officers.”
During a news conference Wednesday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) said it was “a heartbreaking video to witness.”
“I know the mayor works closely with the police department to get to the bottom of everything, but also make sure we protect our children, that they are handled differently when it comes to law enforcement meetings,” he says. . she said.
A 9.25-ounce bag of Doritos Cool Ranch chips costs about $ 3 at Walmart.