Police were looking for a 10- to 12-year-old boy with a gun. And Michael Thomas Jr. fit the description, authorities said.
That’s why officers stopped the boy on Friday evening and handcuffed Michael “for safety reasons,” police Supt. Eddie Johnson said Wednesday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Authorities said he was cuffed after briefly running away.
Cellphone video of the incident obtained by NBC Chicago shows Michael looking sullen and scared as he stands against a car with handcuffs on while police question him. “That’s our kid,” a woman says. “Unbelievable, he’s a kid.” The news station reports the woman is Thomas’ grandmother.
“They’re making him pee on himself,” she says on the video. “He’s scared.”
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The officers then explained that they got a call about a juvenile and that Michael started running when they got out of the car. “Because he’s scared!” Michael’s grandmother said.
Witnesses say the handcuffs were removed about 15 minutes after Michael was stopped, NBC Chicago reported. The video shows Michael burst into tears when police remove the cuffs, and a man pulls the child toward him.
Now Michael’s family says they want answers, according to NBC Chicago.
“You can look at him and tell he's no teenager,” said Starr Ramsey, Michael’s mother. “Ten years old you get handcuffed? You scarred him for life.”
Johnson said authorities are investigating the incident, WLS-AM reported.
He said the officers followed the rules and protocols, the radio station reported. But he added that “anytime you have to interact from a law enforcement standpoint with a child that you, it’s difficult. So, I can only imagine the mothers and grandmothers anguish that that child had to go through that situation.”