T.I. shared some encouraging words with a teenager who was held at gunpoint by a Clayton County, Georgia, police officer on Monday, June 15.
The rapper joined a group of Clayton County parents at a news conference the day after the incident, where he blasted the officer’s actions. T.I. also revealed to local reporters what he relayed to the teen.
Video of the incident began circulating on social media. It shows five teenage boys — reportedly between the ages of 13 and 15 — standing with their hands up while the officer’s gun is being pointed at them.
People can be heard in the background pleading with the officer to put his gun away. “They babies,” one woman can be heard screaming.
More officers arrive on the scene, and the teens are patted down. No weapons were found on them. The officer is then seen talking to the young men, and they all walk away.
Clayton County Police released a report that says one officer arrived at the 500 block of Flint Road in Clayton County after being notified that a group of male teens was seen in a store parking lot with a gun.
Once the officer arrived, a store clerk told him the young men left through the woods. They were later seen walking down the road, and the officer approached them with his gun drawn.
The report states the juveniles confessed to having a BB gun that they threw into the bushes. They eventually led the officer to the BB gun before being released.
At the news conference, T.I. said that he told one of the young men not to let the incident rob him of his power.
“There’s a power that he possesses that hateful white people seem to be afraid of, and they’re going to try to destroy that power before it becomes full-grown and I let him know that,” T.I. told reporters. “And I let him know that he should not allow them to trap him within fear.”
T.I’s words during the news conference were aimed at police. He questioned why it seems that more Black people are held at gunpoint by officers than other races.
“Why don’t we ever see little white kids being held at gunpoint? he asked. “The Constitution was written for all Americans, okay? Except it only seems like you have to be a certain shade or a certain color to reap the benefits of it.”
He continued, “Why are only people of color, young Black boys, young Black girls, being gunned down at the hands of policemen and using excuses like BB guns, water guns. There are little white boys that got real rifles that go hunting every day, every week with their grandparents and parents. They aren’t being held at gunpoint.”
Some in Clayton County are now calling for immediate police reform, something protesters around the United States have been demanding since the death of George Floyd, who died in May while being arrested by a Minneapolis police officer.
There have been expressions from some Clayton County residents that the officer who pointed his gun at the teen should be terminated.