The Richmond Police Department has launched an investigation into an officer seen in a viral video taunting a group of Black middle school students he accused of spewing anti-police sentiments.
On Wednesday, Richmond police confirmed an investigation into the incident was underway and that the department “takes these concerns very seriously,” The Washington Post reported. The agency hasn’t released the officer’s name, however, and declined to provide additional information.
The incident unfolded March 28 when Albert Middle School student Cameron Hilliard, 13, says someone blurted out an expletive about the police as she walked to an after-school activity with friends. The snide remark caught the attention of a Richmond police officer parked outside who put his car in reverse and demanded the girls “man up” and confess which one of them had said it.
“We were like, ‘what are you talking about because we didn’t say that.’ We were telling him we didn’t say that,” Hilliard recalled. “Somebody said a curse word to ‘f–k the police’ but it wasn’t me or my friends.”
The officer didn’t believe them, however, and the two parties began going back and forth. That’s when Hilliard pulled out her phone and instinctively began filming.
“Even if we did say it, that’s our choice of words,” one of her friends tells the officer in the video. Moments later, the cop responded with a few nasty words of his own.
“Wait till your a–es turn 18; then you’re mine,” he says before pulling off. The eighth-graders are heard shrieking in disbelief: “Oh my gosh … whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.
The parent of another child posted the 30-second clip to Facebook, where it has racked up more than 47,000 views as of Thursday. The video has since sparked a swarm of controversy on social media, as well as calls for the officer’s firing.
“Coward bastard could have used this as a teaching moment rather [than] reacting like an embarrassed little boy if anything offensive was actually said to him in the first place,” one Facebook user commented. “He needs to be removed from the force. Mentally unfit!
Another user sympathized with the girls, writing: “My heart hurts for these kids. Hearing that from an authority figure?! What does that do to their motivation and self esteem and worth to hear someone tell them their adulthood will lead to incarceration.”
Hilliard’s mother, Keisha Curry, told The Washington Post she initially brushed off the incident until she noticed how it had affected her daughter. She said Cameron, 13, has alopecia, a medical condition that causes baldness, and had recently worked with local police as part of her anti-bullying and awareness efforts.
Curry said she thinks last month’s incident was a wake-up call to her daughter that not all cops are good cops.
“It may have gave her a reality check that all officers aren’t good,” she told the newspaper. “She knows there are good officers out there, but there are bad officers as well.”
While she believes the officer’s behavior was “completely unacceptable,” Curry said she doesn’t want to see him fired.
“I think he needs to spend a little time with some youth,” she told Richmond station WWBT. “Just a comment like that can really disturb a child at this age.” Curry also said she believes the officer needs additional training.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, D, also criticized the officer’s actions, writing in a statement that the officer’s remark “won’t be tolerated by any employee of the city.”
“This behavior is unacceptable,” Stony wrote. “It reinforces stereotypes of our communities that are hurtful and damages the relationship between our police department and the citizens they are charged to serve.”
Since the incident, Curry said police haven’t been transparent with her family about their investigation. In fact, she said they still don’t know the officer’s name.
“We don’t know anything,” she told The Washington Post. “If the roles were reversed, we’d know everything.”
Curry called the situation “disheartening,” but said she hopes to sit down with the officer and understand why he responded to the group of teens the way he did.
“Our kids deserve better,” she said.
Watch more in the video below.
While waiting to walk to their after school program a Richmond City Police officer drove past my daughter and her classmates that were standing in front of Alberthill middle school, made a U turn and yelled out of his window “what did you say?”. They told the officer they didn’t say anything and he replied “ yes you did”. One of the young ladies said no we didn’t and if we did we have the right to speak. He proceeds to tell the minors that “That’s ok when you turn 18 your ass is mine”. I am disgusted and disappointed but not surprised that a white male officer would make a threat and use that tone or language towards a group of children. My child and her friends have to walk to their after school program and knowing that the police are making idle threats to them is unsettling. I want to know who this officer is and I demand an apology and some form of reprimand to this officer. Please repost and show how the city treats its youth!😡#channel12news#channel6news#lavarstoney#williamcsmith#channel8news#wtvr6#blacklives#leaveourbabiesalone#cnn#nbc
Posted by Tenesha Calloway on Thursday, March 28, 2019