Grand Rapids police under fire for pointing guns at children

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Police in Grand Rapids, Mich., are under fire after an officer's own body camera showed them pointing guns at a group of young children. (WLS)

Police in Grand Rapids, Mich., are being taken to task over procedures that resulted in guns being pointed at a group of innocent children.

The officer's own body camera recorded the tense confrontation. The boys, aged 12 to 14, lay on the ground, scared. One pleaded "Don't shoot me," and another was heard saying, "I don't want to die." Police are defending their actions, but also apologizing to the community.

The officers, with guns drawn, stopped the African American boys as they walked home from a basketball game after getting calls about an armed teen and a fight in the area.

The boys comply with the order to lay down, but they are clearly confused and frightened. One starts to cry. They ask what they did, and the officer respond that he's giving them directions.

Backup arrives and the officers, realizing they have the wrong boys, release them unharmed to their parents.

"Y'all didn't see a gun but y'all pulled guns on my kids," one mother says to the police officers. "You have to understand our position as well, the way you were acting, I couldn't - I can't help it, that's my baby!"

"I understand, I'm a parent," the officer replies.

The Grand Rapids police chief apologized, but defended his officers based the information they were given.

The officers involved have not been reprimanded and remain on the job. The chief expressed relief that nobody was hurt and insisted the officers followed police protocol.

Related Topics:
body cameraspolice officeru.s. & worldchildrenMichigan
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