SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Nearly one month after the arrest of a 12-year-old boy went viral, the Sacramento Police released body cam footage of the incident. An incident that took social media by storm because of the officers' use of a spit hood over the boy's head.
The 12-year-old boy, whose name has not been released, was arrested on April 28 in Del Paso Heights and officers said they placed the spit hood over his head for protection after he allegedly spit on them.
“Our officers involved in this incident appropriately used a spit hood to protect themselves and defuse the situation," Chief Daniel Hahn said in a statement that accompanied the video. "I am grateful that our officers were willing to proactively intervene when they observed suspicious activity, and that nobody was injured during this encounter.”
The Department said the situation began when officers saw a Paladin Private Security guard chasing someone in the area and went to help the security guard.
OFFICERS HANDCUFF THE BOY
Body camera footage shows the moments when the officers catch up with the boy and the security guard, bringing out cuffs and putting them on the boy before they begin to ask what is going on. Before long, the 12-year-old is in handcuffs, asking repeatedly, "What am I under arrest for?" as officers continue to tell him to calm down and ask him what happened.
Though there is no clear conversation, the boy at one point says that he was running because the security guard was chasing him all over "the carnival."
At this point, alarmed witnesses come into the picture, asking officers why they're holding a kid. Officers are heard telling one person "you're not helping the situation" as they work to get the boy closer to the patrol car.
Three minutes into the body cam footage, but not visible, a spitting sound is heard and a female officer is heard saying, "That’s f------ it, he just spit on me” and the boy responds, “Yeah I spit on your b---- a--. How you like that shit?”
Five minutes in, officers seem to have given up trying to get the boy into the backseat, and now have him face down on the ground where he is heard saying, "f------ racist a-- b----" to the officer.
It's at this point that the female officer, worried that the boy will continue to spit at them, says, “He’s gonna spit on me. Do you have a spit hood dude?”
As the spit hood is secured, an officer says, "That escalated, that did not need to go this way" and the boy yells, "I can’t f------ breathe, yo! I can’t breathe! Let me get up."
As more officers arrive and begin to discuss what is going on, a female officer explains that they were assisting the Paladin Security guard after they saw him chasing someone, and used the handcuffs on the boy to "calm things down." They then begin to discuss that the boy has been around the area panhandling and multiple businesses have asked for security to remove him.
As the boy is finally put into the back of the car, after witnesses told him to cooperate, officers ask him to stop kicking as he says "let me go or I will kick your b---- a--" and repeatedly says "let this bag off my head."
After 15 minutes have gone by, the boy's mother arrives and asks officers why her son is in handcuffs with a bag over his head, demanding to know what he's done to be arrested.
With no clear answer, officers tell her, "Paladin told me that he's been shoplifting across the street, we were helping (the security guard)" and go on to again say that the handcuffs were used to "calm things down."
In a calmer conversation with another female officer, the boy's mother is told that he can't spit in an officer's face.
"He don’t know that. He’s a boy. Y’all scare him," his mother responds. "Do you know how many times he got in front of police officers and they’ve been [racist] to him? This is why he reacted the way he did. Because officers kill black boys. And he was in fear of his life.”
Nearly an hour after the situation began, the boy is released from the handcuffs, asked to sign his citation and released to his mother, who has been heard in the body cam footage telling officers that she may be getting a lawyer.
At this point, it is still unclear why the security guard was originally chasing the boy.
THE FAMILY'S RESPONSE
In a separate interview on Tuesday, May 21, the family’s attorney, Mark T. Harris, said in a video post that the 12-year-old was at a neighborhood carnival when he was chased out by a security officer and later detained by police.
Sacramento Police Sgt. Vance Chandler told ABC10 the “spit hood” was used for a specific reason and that it causes no harm to the person wearing it.
"Our police department, we don't want to be in this position,” Chandler said. “The people involved, they don't want to be in this position. So, we look at this and we stay committed to finding ways to make sure that we do all we can do to prevent this from happening again.”