‘It Just Didn’t Make Sense’: Pregnant Mother and Her Son Held at Gunpoint By Sacramento Police After Cops Mistook the 8-Year-Old for Drug Dealing Suspect

A pregnant California mother says her 8-year-old son is traumatized after police held them at gunpoint after mistaking him for a teenage suspect wanted in two felonies.

Now, the Black mother is demanding the department issue her family an apology for their show of force toward her child.

Offices from the Sacramento Police Department pulled over Shanice Stewart and her son, Brand, while they were on their way to football practice on Oct. 17 around 5 p.m. As soon as she was stopped, officers pulled out their firearms.

Shanice Stewart and her son (Photo: YouTube screenshot/KCRA 3)

“I looked in the rearview mirror, and that’s when I noticed the police officers had their guns out,” Stewart said to KCRA.

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“They had them aimed towards the car, so I listened to their instructions to toss my keys out the window, open my door with my left hand, and get out slowly with my hands in the air,” she added. “I just followed instructions.”

While they were detained, the officers informed her that her son, an elementary school student, matched the description of a young man they suspected of being involved in various criminal activities. Stewart was taken aback as more law enforcement agents, arriving in at least three additional cars and a helicopter, joined the officers that initially stopped her.

“Really? My 8-year-old baby fits the description of the suspect you’re looking for?” she told reporters she was thinking. “It just didn’t make sense to me.”

She posted on her Facebook that they thought her son was a “drug dealer” who had participated in some “home invasions.”

According to Stewart, who is nine months pregnant, during the stop, her son started to shout, worried about his mother, and asked the officers not to take his mother away.

“My mom was just taking me to practice,” he reportedly said.

In the post, she said she feared for her son’s life because the police insisted he fit the description of the suspect. The son also was afraid for the mother’s life. He can be heard in the video screaming to his mother, “Please don’t leave. Please wait.”


Eventually, SPD admitted the officers made a mistake, releasing an official statement.

“From a distance, officers observed a juvenile who they believed to be [a] wanted suspect, enter a vehicle with tinted windows. All windows on the sides and back of the vehicle were heavily tinted. Based on the information regarding firearm history, a high-risk stop was initiated,” the statement read in part.

The statement continued, “They realized the juvenile in the vehicle was not the wanted suspect, and at that point, the high-risk stop was ended. We must acknowledge that in this instance, a mistake was made. Our officers provided [an] explanation to the mother and her son. Our department has been in contact with the mother since the incident. We recognize the impact that police interactions can have on our community members.”

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Stewart said the impact of this interaction is more than just a little bit of embarrassment.

For her, she can’t shake the feeling of being “worried” and “scared.”

Her son could be experiencing even more trauma, she says.

“What kid wants to live in fear of a police officer possibly stopping him in the future and doing something to him? Is this how they deal with young children, young men, young, you know, minorities?” the mother asked.

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