Outraged locals have called for an investigation into a shocking video of two Athens-Clarke County Police officers tackling, then pinning a 10-year-old child to the ground.
Police arrested the child’s father last Friday on domestic violence charges, campus paper The Red & Black reported. The child’s aunt, Ariel Collins, shared video of the incident on Facebook showing officers hold the boy down on his stomach in the middle of a grassy field.
“These mfs done slammed my lil cousin on the car first (the footage I didn’t get) then on the ground and he’s only 7 #CNN #CHANNEL2 #11LIVE #FOX5 🤔 …” Collins wrote in a Facebook. “and, FYI Eric didn’t do anything but was tryna talk to his dad who was in the police car. THAT’S IT!!!!!”
A department press police said the child “lunged at one of the officers” after running past relatives to try and speak to his father, who was handcuffed and being placed in the back of a patrol car. As the child ran, one of the officers caught him “in mid-air and the momentum of the child launching himself caused the both of them to land on the patrol car,” police said.
The child was clearly distraught over his father’s arrest, but that didn’t stop officers from tackling him, pinning him down and twisting his arm behind his back. In the video, one of the officers is seen dangling a pair of handcuffs in front of the child’s face as he says “sorry” and “Yes sir.”
In a statement, police said they were only trying to de-escalate the situation and assured the boy he wasn’t under arrest. Officers eventually let the boy up once they saw that he was calm.
“Our officer began to console the child and helped him to understand what was happening to his father,” police spokesman Epifiano Rodriguez said. “The child asked to speak to his father and was allowed to do so by our officers.”
Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Scott Freeman has since ordered an internal investigation into the incident.