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‘It Was At Least 30 Cars. Four Snipers’: Arlington Police Say ‘Sorry for the Inconvenience,’ After Erroneously Holding a 16-year-old Black Boy at Gunpoint for Over an Hour

A Texas teen was held at gunpoint outside of his home after police mistakenly confused him with an armed suspect reportedly roaming the same apartment complex. The boy says the ordeal has traumatized him, after believing the officers could have killed him if he would have made the wrong move.

On Monday, Aug. 1, Arlington police officers surrounded Rykeem Johnson, 16, with their weapons drawn. The high school student said the first pair of officers stopped him and demanded he discard his gun, a shocking command since he was just arriving home to get his gear to go swimming, WFAA reports.

Underaged, unaware of what was happening, and afraid for his life, Rykeem said he didn’t know what to do.

“I was very terrified. I was so terrified; I couldn’t move my body. I was standing like a statue the entire time,” Rykeem recalled before saying, “They told me to put some weapon down. [But] I didn’t know what they were talking about.” 

The Arlington Police Department said via a prepared statement that a resident in the complex called 911 and said he saw a male hiding a firearm underneath a towel when he looked through the peephole of his door. The caller described the man in question as wearing a hoodie.

The APD reported, “The 911 caller advised that he’d been receiving threats from a person over social media and believed the person at his door with a firearm was the same person making the threats.”

According to Rykeem, the situation escalated quickly as at least 30 patrol cars arrived at his complex with officers shouting orders at the minor.

His brother and guardian, Dr. Relius Johnson said he was notified by a neighbor, who called to advise him to shelter in place. Out of concern for his little brother he rushed to the complex, shocked to see his little brother was being targeted as the armed suspect as cops faced off against the teen while he stood on the landing of an upper level of the building.

“It was at least 30 cars. Four snipers. There was a lot of police presence,” Dr. Johnson recalled. The older brother took a chance and called his brother.

Rykeem, when he heard his brother’s voice on the other end of the phone, said, “I burst into tears saying come save me they are about to shoot me.”

Dr. Johnson said he arrived on the scene and informed the officers they had the wrong person. At first, they ignored him but eventually realized the child was innocent.

The older brother was asked by WFAA how he was feeling, and he described his emotional state as “conflicted,” before saying he was “more pissed off than anything.”

“Right now, I’m just happy that he’s here,” Johnson stated. “But I’m still really upset about the whole situation.”

Rykeem is also happy he is alive but believes he is owed more than a flippant apology. The teen said, “The only thing they said to me was ‘Sorry for the misunderstanding. We apologize.’ That wasn’t enough for me. They had me at gunpoint, scared for my life.”

A member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity incorporated and a recent graduate of Louisiana State University, Dr. Johnson posted on his Instagram, a breakdown of the day’s event.

“Today, I received one of the most heart-dropping phone calls in my life. For the past three years I have had my little brother and have tried to raise him while addressing some of the trauma that he has come with,” he wrote. “Today, I received a call from an officer telling me to tell my brother to shelter in place as there was a possible man with the gun in my building. After calling my brother (repeatedly) to my shock he answers with a scream that was piercing and breathing chaotically while crying for me to come to save him.”

Dr. Relius Johnson’s post about his brother’s encounter with Arlington police. @relius_06/Instagram

“He was screaming the police have their guns pointed at him and are going to kill him.”

“After finally getting my way to my apartment complex I had officers who finally listened to me after being there for over an hour,” he continued.

“I was able to talk to my brother and get him to come down.”

Dr. Johnson said, “My little brother has a fear of cops and [is] frozen in place with all the guns pointed at him and talked about how he saw the green lasers and he did not know if he was to risk it getting into the house or just stand there. My brother could have died today if I had not defied a cop multiple times and it being a Black police officer who finally listened to me and went and got the Sgt. Over SWAT who was able to have me calm my brother down and give directions.”

Relius Johnson’s second post about the encounter. @relius_06/Instagram

He said they detained Rykeem before letting him go and saying, “sorry for the inconvenience.”

Dr. Johnson wrapped in one sentence to the genesis of the uproar, writing, “Two grown-ass men have had been arguing on social media and making threats to each other led up to a 16-year-old having over 40 police officers, SWAT Team and 4 snipers with guns on him.”

The APD said there is an investigation into the officers’ response and treatment of the teenager and is also working to follow up on the original claim and follow-up messages from the 911 caller.

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