Video of police officers restraining a young black boy has gone viral and has sparked major outrage on social media.
The reported incident took place in Athens, Georgia, on Friday, but many who were outraged didn't get the full scope of what was happening until police issued a clarifying statement on the incident on Monday.
What's in the video?
Facebook user Ariel Collins — apparently the cousin of the boy in question — shared the video Sunday on Facebook. At the time of this writing, the video has received over 600,000 views and 23,000 shares.
Collins captioned the video, "These mfs done slammed my lil cousin on the car first (the footage I didn't get) then on the ground and he's only 7 #CNN #CHANNEL2 #11LIVE #FOX5 ... and, FYI Eric didn't do anything but was tryna talk to his dad who was in the police car. THAT'S IT!!!!!"
Throughout the video, police officers can be observed remaining calm, despite the boy's struggles, and though one officer pulled out handcuffs, the boy was never actually cuffed.
You can watch the video below.
According to WSB-TV, family members initially reported that the boy is 7 years old, but later said that he was 9 years old. Police report that the boy is 10 years old.
On Sunday, the Athens-Clarke County Police issued a statement on their Facebook page acknowledging the video's virality.
The post read, “We have been made aware of a video that is making its way around social media involving two of our officers. We are reviewing the facts around this incident and will be publicly addressing the issue tomorrow. We ask that you remember we have made a promise of transparency to this community and have upheld that promise on multiple occasions.”
What were the department's findings?
The Athens-Clarke County Police issued a statement on Monday explaining what actually happened in the video.
The department noted that they were responding to a domestic violence call, and after they took a man from the residence into custody, the young boy became visibly and emotionally agitated.
The child reportedly attempted to physically prevent the police from taking the man — believed to be the child's father — into custody.
The two officers reportedly restrained the young boy gently but firmly during his outburst.
In a Facebook post, the Athens-Clarke County police wrote:
On 07/20/2018 at approximately 6:30 pm, officers made contact with a domestic violence suspect at his residence on Sartain Dr. Upon completing their investigation, the suspect was placed under arrest. Once in custody, the suspect’s 10-year-old child became extremely emotionally distraught. On more than one occasion, the other adults on scene attempted to restrain the child without success. As an officer was walking the suspect to his patrol car, the child attempted to block his path and again had to be removed and restrained by the adult family members.
As the suspect was being placed in the back of the patrol car, the video clearly shows the child run pass family members and again ran towards our officer and lunged at one of the officers. Our officer caught the child in mid-air and the momentum of the child launching himself caused the both of them to land on the patrol car. The child continued to be emotionally distraught, and continued with the outburst, at which time our officer placed him on the ground. While on the ground, the officer continued to attempt to de-escalate the situation, assuring the child that he was not under arrest and that he would let him up if he would remain calm. Once the officer believed the child had calmed down, he allowed him to return to his feet. The child continued to be emotionally distraught but was not resistant towards our officers. Our officer began to console the child and helped him to understand what was happening to his father. The child asked to speak with his father and was allowed to do so by our officers.
Chief [R. Scott] Freeman has ordered an internal affairs investigation and also has ordered the release of the officer’s body cam footage. The Athens-Clarke County attorney is reviewing the video footage due to a juvenile involvement, and the video will be release once his office has completed their review.