An officer in Cobb County, Ga., is facing criticism for his handling of a 12-year-old child he detained for selling CDs at a local mall, an incident critics are calling the latest example of police officers being overly aggressive with Black children.
Viral video of the Oct. 6 incident shows the unnamed officer apprehending pre-teen rapper Corey Jackson, better known by his stage name Lil C-Note, at the Cumberland Mall earlier this month. Jackson’s aunt, Coraletha Jackson, captured shocking video of the cop grabbing her nephew by the arm and threatening to send him to a youth detention center.
“You’re 12?” the officer asks the boy. “You’re about to go to jail. You’re going to go to a youth detention center if you don’t stop.”
“He’s not doing anything,” Coraletha says, defending the child. “He has his rights. I have his father on the phone and you won’t even speak to him.”
“Yup,” the cop responds smugly.
Cobb County Police Chief Mike Register has since defended the officer’s actions, saying he saw no evidence that the officer violated any department rules. He said the now-viral video only shows a “snippet” of what actually happened.
“A lot of people have said that he was manhandled,” Register said of the incident. “The officer — all he was doing was holding the young man by the arm … I believe from the preliminary investigation that the officer was in his legal rights to detain the juvenile.”
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, police said Jackson was illegally selling CDs at the mall after two previous warnings not to do so. The child had been recently issued a criminal trespass warning when mall security spotted him yet again and dialed Cobb Police.
When the unnamed officer approached Jackson and his aunt, he claims the rapper became “verbally combative” and refused to answer questions. An altercation ensued when the cop had Jackson detained by the arm, after which his aunt “physically attacked the officer” and even swung at him in an attempt to flee, according to Register, citing witness accounts.
That’s when the officer released his grip on Jackson, then took his aunt to the ground. In the video, the camera jostles violently during the scuffle as the woman shouts in distress.
The officer ultimately charged 12-year-old Jackson with felony obstruction, misdemeanor criminal trespass and disorderly conduct, and was released into his father’s custody, the Marietta Daily Journal reported. Meanwhile, his aunt faces charges of felony obstruction, criminal trespass, disorderly conduct and giving a false name and date of birth to police.
Toya Brown, a manager at Patchwerk Recording Studios in Atlanta, told the AJC Jackson’s aunt “just gets emotional” as she tried to separate the rapper and the officer. Brown said Jackson has been selling CDs since he was 6 years old and has been confronted by police before.
“Every so often he might get stopped and confronted by the police, but he’s really just making a living for him and his family,” she told the newspaper, adding that “this has probably been the worst” incident.
“What he was doing was nothing … immoral or unethical,” Brown continued.
Social media critics agreed, arguing the amount of force used by the officer, who was off-duty at the time, was totally unnecessary.
“Look how this officer to touching this young kid,” director Jason Pollack tweeted. “He would never be treating a little white kid like this. Then he attacks the kids family for questioning his actions. So tired of seeing this shit.”
“The officer is trying to break the kids arm!” another critic wrote. “The officer should go to jail.”
One user said he was “beyond tired” of such incidents, writing, “they occur daily as if there’s some nationwide mandate that white police officers kill, or grossly mistreat Black people.”
Cobb police have promised a full investigation into the incident.
Watch more in the video below.