GRAND RAPIDS (WWJ) — Police in west Michigan are on the hot seat after body camera footage surfaced of an officer pointing a gun a five unarmed kids last month.
The video was released this week after public pressure following the March 24 incident in Grand Rapids. A group of five black boys — ages 12 to 14 — were leaving a basketball game nearby when they were confronted by officers.READ MORE: Detroit Fire Department Passes Out Free Smoke Detectors Following Fatal Fire
The Grand Rapids Police Department said it received a call about a fight breaking out in the area and that a teen involved may have been armed. The responding officers determined that the group of boys stopped fit the description given by witnesses.
In the video, Officer Caleb Johnson can be seen ordering the boys to the ground at gunpoint while neighbors looked on.
“Just follow our directions and we’ll be alright, OK?” Johnson tells the boys.
“I do not want to die, bro,” one of the boys can be heard saying.READ MORE: Committee Subpoenas Former MDHHS Director Over Large Separation Agreement With State
The video later shows officers talking to one of the boy’s parents saying that the child was simply “in the wrong place at the wrong time” and that the boy fit the description given to the officers.
“We’re just doing our job because a lot of people out here have guns,” another officer can be heard saying. “We’re not saying that your kids had guns or anything like that, but we’re just doing our job, OK?”
After an investigation, it was was found that none of the boys were armed.
Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss’ office sent a statement to WOOD-TV regarding the incident.
“The mayor is working with city leadership on a plan to review GRPD policies and procedures as part of the larger conversation around community and police relations. The review will include how GRPD responds to incidents involving youth,” the statement said.MORE NEWS: AG Nessel: 48-Year-Old Benton Harbor Man Charged With Sexual Assault
Grand Rapids Police Department Chief David Rahinsky apologized for the incident, but said his officers acted professionally.