Police officers are usually associated with bringing criminals to justice. In most cases, criminals are individuals who have committed crimes – theft, assault, even murder. However, police officers in Henry County, GA went after alleged criminals that most people would not even suspect of wrongdoing – fifth graders building a tree fort.
According to WSB-TV Atlanta, 11-year-old Omari Grant and his friends were outside playing and engaging in their normal activities. Grant explained that he and his friends often play near a wooded area behind his home. A neighbor in the next subdivision ultimately to called the police to complain about the boys’ activities.
Shortly after the police were contacted, Grant ended up staring down the barrel of a gun. The child expressed that one of the police officers pointed a gun in his face as the other directed obscene language toward him. The children were also forced to lay on the ground.
“I was thinking that I don’t want to be shot today, so I just listened to what they said,” Grant said.
While some may consider the police officers’ actions standard procedure, there is a reason to question their assumptions. The publication also reports that the neighbor who placed the call actually expressed that they have concerns for the boys’ safety. The neighbor claimed that she was concerned about “falling hazards, tripping hazards, all types of hazards.” However, the 911 records indicate that the neighbor accused the boys of “chopping off tree limbs.”
Grant admitted that he and his friends did cut down tree limbs for their fort. However, their actions didn’t merit the use of excessive force, which is why Grant’s mother, Janice Baptiste.
Of course, no arrest were made as it didn’t appear that the children had done anything wrong. But, now the Henry County Police Department faces an excessive force complaint. The officer, who’s name has not been released, is currently under investigation.
The use of excessive force in this particular situation has sparked yet another debate. Some feel the officer had probable cause, while others agree that his actions were extremely brash. A number of people have even expressed that the officers actions border racial profiling although the cop’s identity and race have yet to be revealed.
“Cops have too much power. The police need policing also. Internal affairs is a joke,” one News One user commented.
“Have THESE kids cussed out or attacked other women? Do you know them? Because you sure seem eager to blame them for things they didn’t even do (in this instance). Why didn’t the adult woman speak to the parents if she was so terrified of “cursing or worse”? Oh, right, there will be no signs of maturity or communication between neighbors, instead, call in the armed cavalry! No wonder this neighborhood is screwed up,” another user said.
Do you think the cop’s actions were based on probable cause? Or were his actions excessive?
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