SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — A widely seen video of an 8-year-old Black child sobbing as he’s being led into a Syracuse police car over a bag of chips was called “heart wrenching” Wednesday by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who said more needs to be done to build trust with communities of color.
The video taken Sunday shows a white officer holding the clearly distraught youth from behind by his elbows, leading him from a sidewalk to the back seat of a police vehicle. Another officer says the situation is about “stealing stuff.” The man recording the video argues with police to let the child go.
The video has been widely shared on social media, with many people condemning the officers for treating the child roughly. Hochul, at a COVID-19 briefing in Syracuse, said the video was difficult to watch.
“We have more work to do, and I know that the mayor is working closely with the police department to get to the bottom of everything,” said Hochul, a Democrat. “But also make sure that we do protect our children — that they’re handled in a different way when it comes to encounters with law enforcement.”
Syracuse police said Tuesday the officers’ actions were being reviewed, along with body-worn camera footage. Police said the incident involved an accusation of youths stealing from a store.
The 8-year-old was never handcuffed and was put in the rear of a patrol car to bring him home. Officers met with the child’s father and no charges were filed, police said.
The father, Anthony Weah, told Syracuse.com that officers were friendly at the house. But he said he was aghast after seeing the video.
“Why would the police treat that child like that?” Weah asked. “Over a $3 bag of chips.”