‘He Was Too Scared to Tell Me What Was Going On’: Mother Claims 11-Year-Old Was Scarred After Being Handcuffed When Police Stopped Dad Following High Speed Chase

For one 11-year-old Ann Arbor, Michigan, boy, what happened when he encountered police on April 16, 2021, has haunted him ever since.

The boy’s mother, Markia Dixon, filed a lawsuit on Oct. 5, 2021, against the Pittsfield Township Police officer who handcuffed her son, claiming his constitutional rights were violated and the experience caused him emotional trauma.

According to the lawsuit, on April 16, a shooting reportedly happened at the Briarwood shopping mall in Ann Arbor, Michigan, about 40 miles west of Detroit. The boy and his father were headed to a mall but were unaware of the shooting when they encountered police redirecting incoming traffic coming toward the mall.

The boy’s father turned the car around but ventured onto oncoming traffic on Interstate 94 which led to police following the father with the boy in the car in a high-speed chase with speeds reaching 100 mph until the father eventually pulled over.

Police say the boy’s father faces several charges because of the high-speed chase, including, fleeing, and eluding, resisting, and obstructing, child abuse and driving on a suspended or revoked license.

Bodycam video shows the officer approaching the pulled-over car with the father detained near the driver side door and the 11-year-old still in the car. The officer orders the boy out of the car and ask him to sit down near a tree.

The officer then stands the boy up and handcuffs him meanwhile the boy’s father is heard asking, why his son was being detained. The boy can be heard asking if he could call his mom.

After a minute and forty seconds, the boy is uncuffed by the officer.

“My son, when he called me, he was too scared to tell me what was going on. I didn’t know until after the fact of me picking him up,” said Markia Dixon.

Dixon describes her son as a good kid who does well in school and has never had behavioral issues. Her son is undergoing regular counseling because of the traumatic experience. “He’s scared of the police, he’s very quiet about the situation. He doesn’t want to talk about it,” said Dixon.

“If there is a minor child, and the minor child is calm and the minor child is not attacking you, then you don’t put that minor child in handcuffs,” said Dionne Webster-Cox, Dixon’s hired attorney.

Pittsfield Township Public Safety Director, Matthew Harshberger tells Atlanta Black Star that due to pending litigation, he cannot comment on the case.

In a press release, Harshberger says, in part, “It has been determined that the Pittsfield officer acted in compliance with department policy in assisting other officers conducting a felony stop and securing the scene for the safety of all.”

Webster-Cox says in addition to $150,000 dollars in compensation, they also want to see the Pittsfield Township Police Department change their policy when dealing with minors.

Dixon’s lawsuit claims excessive force, assault and battery, gross negligence, and intentional emotional distress. “It’s not even about the money, I want justice, I want them to see what they have done, they don’t realize it, they don’t care,” said Dixon.

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