Harrowing video footage of a US police officer slamming a 9-year-old boy to the ground has gone viral causing public outrage in the community, which later forced police to share their own video covering the whole incidence in Athens, Georgia.
The initial video, released by Athens resident April Collins, went viral when she caught her nine-year-old cousin Eric being forced down and pinned to the ground by police when officers attended the residence to arrest the boy’s father over a domestic violence dispute. The footage, uploaded to Facebook on Sunday, caused fury within the community but the video was not all that it seemed.
In response, police had to share their own footage, which showed a frantic Eric losing his temper and launching himself at an Athens-Clarke County officer on Friday evening. In the video, the officer can be heard screaming “stop resisting” at the boy and “back off” to his panicked family members.
The two versions have caused outrage and debate on social media, with people both condemning the police response and questioning the boy’s behavior. A Facebook user Anna Marie Bennett watched the bodycam footage and commented that she could “not see the justification for the amount of force used,” adding: “this is a child.” Another Facebook user Ali Edwards pointed out that police “should have skills in helping children that are clearly distraught and emotional over the situation.”
How hard is it to not use physical force on a 9-year-old,” one Twitter user said. However, another social media user wrote that the bodycam shots painted “quite a different picture than the first short clip that was posted by the family.” One Twitter user simply said “context matters,” and others queried why the child’s family did not have him under control, to begin with.
An Athens-Clarke County Police statement confirmed that Police Chief Freeman has ordered an internal affairs investigation into the matter, and the Athens-Clarke County attorney is reviewing the video footage due to juvenile involvement.