This afternoon, Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board officials will publicly address a troubling video of black children in handcuffs at Minnehaha Falls on Tuesday.
A woman who claims to have witnessed the incident and videotaped its aftermath says four black kids -- "ages probably ranging from 9-12," she guesses -- were "being harassed" by a white teenager when she and her partner arrived at the city park.
The white guy was "spouting racial slurs at them," threatening them with a "metal trash can lid," and claimed he "had a knife," the woman writes.
"A girl with him was on her phone, I’m assuming with police," she says.
That assumption was borne out soon after, as the woman "heard shouting" from the scene, and returned to find two of the boys in handcuffs. "One was begging for his shirt on the ground," she says, "because he was being bitten by mosquitoes."
Her partner offered the kid a shirt, and a cop "started yelling at us that we were interfering with an arrest," the woman says.
After the cops load the two kids into a squad car, one approaches the woman.
"Why are you arresting kids?" she asks.
"First of all, they're not arrested," the cop begins.
He says, about the kids in custody, "a few of them were runaways, and a few of them were involved in a disturbance down here, which is why we're here."
The woman asks why the park police haven't tried finding the white teenager who'd been "aggressing" the boys; the officer says they did, but "nobody's given me information on him." The cop invites people to provide details "one at a time," and another witness steps forward to tell what she saw; the video cuts out soon after.
The woman filming wrote that a black woman who had attempted to "deescalate" the situation earlier told her park police arrived "with guns already drawn" and pointed them "right in the children's faces."
That woman and her son "ran and hid when the police arrived" to avoid having guns drawn on them, too, according to the woman who posted the video. "Her little boy kept asking if they were going to be arrested too."
The video has been shared more than 16,000 times and seen more than 600,000 times in less than 24 hours.
Mary Merrill, superintendent of the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, and park police chief Jason Ottoho will address the department's "response to a 911 call' in a 2 p.m. press conference. We'll update with more information about the incident as it becomes available.
Posted by Brianna Lindell on Tuesday, July 10, 2018