Sacramento Police Put Bag Over 12-Year-Old Boy's Head During Arrest
Credit: Flickr/ProComKelly
May 23, 2019

Sacramento Police are under fire for their brutal tactics again. This time they put a bag over the head of a 12-year-old Black child. His mother, LaToya Downs, is demanding an apology from the police department for humiliating and degrading her son.

He was simultaneously angry and scared, calling out for his mother as he was being arrested (for running from a security guard.) He spit in the face of one of the police officers, so they forced him, handcuffed, to the ground on his stomach. That's when they put the mesh spit bag over his head, too.

Was that necessary? He was on the ground, on his stomach, handcuffed. They were all standing up around him. What exactly were they afraid he was going to do at that point? According to his mother, "He was angry, he didn’t know why it was on him, it was degrading at that point and he was scared, he didn’t know what to expect." According to The Washington Post,

A lawyer for the family maintains that the boy did nothing to justify his arrest, and the use of the hood was extreme.

“I don’t believe it’s appropriate procedure to put a bag over that child’s head even if that child were to spit at that officer,” said Mark T. Harris of the Ben Crump law firm, who also represented [Stephon] Clark’s family.
The videos do not capture what led to the boy’s arrest. Harris said the boy was attending a nearby carnival with his sister and an adult chaperone that evening, and the adult had asked him to get change from his car to use at the fair. The boy obliged, but Harris said a security guard grew suspicious and gave chase.

In a Wednesday release, police said two patrolling officers saw the boy running from a security guard near the intersection of Del Paso Boulevard and El Camino Avenue and went to assist.

Just TRY to imagine you're a Black child who knows every encounter with police could end up with you dead. Remember being 12 years old. Think about living in Sacramento, where Stephon Clark was recently murdered — shot eight times — by Sacramento police in his grandmother's backyard for holding his cell phone in his hand. Police weren't charged with any crimes, sparking waves of protests. Try to understand knowing that Eric Garner was choked to death by police for selling loose cigarettes on the street. Imagine knowing in your bones that police are never ever punished for murdering Black people. And remember being 12. Would you run?

“It shouldn’t have happened, it shouldn’t have got this far, and I want justice, I want justice for African-American girls and boys,” Ms. Downs said.

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