Public outrage ensued and pressure began to build on the Grand Rapids Police Department to release the body camera footage from the officer who drew his weapon on the boys. The five young black males who were victimized by police in this incident were aged 12 to 14-years-old.
On Monday (April 24th), CBS Detroit reported that the Grand Rapids Police Department finally granted public demands to release the body camera footage that was recorded that day. Officers got a 911 call about a group of young men (one armed with a gun) who left the scene of an alleged brawl involving 100 youths.
However, the brawl was never verified and the teen boys who were approached at gunpoint by the Grand Rapids Police were not proven to be armed or involved in any kind of altercation that happened earlier that day. All officers could say is that the boys “fit a description” without accurately verifying anything.
During the video, the boys appear to be terrified. “I do not want to die,” one boy is heard saying. Another boy is heard crying and pleading with the officer to not shoot him or any of his friends. Grand Rapids Police Department Chief David Rahinsky apologized over the incident but contended that the officers acted professionally.
However, many people in the community still feel it was heavy handed to dispatch eight armed officers to a scene with five unarmed black boys aged 14 and under. The office of Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss released a statement acknowledging the incident, which partially reads as follows:
“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.” (WOOD-TV)
No local or regional news source reported that any disciplinary action had been taken against the officers involved. You can view one of the officer’s body camera videos here.