The Sacramento Police Department is facing new scrutiny after a video of officers arresting a 12-year-old Black boy and placing a bag over his head.
Video shared by Black Lives Matter Sacramento shows the moment police restrained the child, who activists say stands 4 feet 10 inches tall and weighs less than 100 pounds, according to the San Francisco Bay View. People who witnessed the incident said officers placed a bag over his head in an effort to “shut him up.”
“Aye, why y’all putting a bag over his face, bruh?” someone behind the camera shouts amid the cries of other bystanders equally outraged by what was unfolding.
Meanwhile, the unidentified minor, who reportedly is said by relatives to suffer from severe respiratory issues, is heard in the background telling officers that he can’t breathe.
It’s unclear what transpired before the video started rolling, but a YouTube video shared by attorney Mark T. Harris of the Ben Crump law firm stated that the child was attending a local carnival when he was chased down by private security officers. Atlanta Black Star is awaiting confirmation from Crump’s law firm on whether Harris is representing the 12-year old.
The beginning of the clip shows the boy protesting the officers’ efforts and using profanity as they try to take him into custody. He eventually calms down once the police have him pinned to the ground with his hands behind his back.
That’s when an unidentified officer walks over and places what’s known as a “spit sock,” a permeable semi-transparent bag, over his head, sparking angry reactions from onlookers. The bag is typically used on suspects who spit or bite police or may try to. It’s unclear if the boy did either.
It’s also unknown when the incident took place, but video from the incident was posted to Facebook on May 8.
Harris recently expressed his outrage over the incident, calling the officers’ restraint of the child “shocking, shameful and unconscionable.” He also took aim at Sacramento Chief of Police Daniel Hanh, who is African-American.
“Our police chief is ‘blue’ and not Black,” Harris wrote in a piece for CBM Newswire. “In addition, it appears to many of us that when you have as many incidents of questionable police conduct directed toward one singular demographic group, within an entire community the ‘cat needs to be let out of the bag. ‘”
“The Sacramento police department appears to be representative of a ‘bad orchard’ as opposed to a few ‘bad apples,’ ” he concluded.