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by Micah J. Fleck
WARNING: The footage below features disturbing imagery of children in peril.
According to the report accompanying this footage (trigger happy cops claiming to have been dispatched to break up a reported fight in the area), we only have access to the video thanks to Freedom of Information Act legislation ultimately wrestling it away from the Gand Rapids Police Department– they didn’t want us to see this:
As the body camera footage begins, Officer Caleb Johnson pulls up to the boys and immediately points his weapon at them and demands they get on the ground.
“Get on the ground!” Johnson tells the boys.
Three of the children were so confused that they did not immediately comply. Luckily they weren’t shot.
“Hey, get over here,” Johnson said, motioning with his arm. “Keep your hands where I can see them and get on the ground.”
“Can you please put the gun down?” one of the boys asked.
Another youth is heard saying, “I do not want to die, bro.”
“We are not about to die we didn’t do nothing,” another of the boys says to try and comfort him.
“Don’t shoot me,” one of the boys pleads with the officers.
The entire time, the boys are trying to explain to the police that they were not involved in any of this mess and they have the video to prove it.
“Calm down, calm down, it’ll be alright,” Officer Johnson says as he has his finger on the trigger of his police issued pistol as its trained on the boys. “They’ll give you directions, OK?”
As more officers arrived, the boys were instructed to stand up, put their hands on their heads, and walk backward slowly toward the car. They were then all placed in handcuffs while officers figured out they were assaulted with deadly weapons for the sole act of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
After being wrongly detained for 10 minutes, the officers then called the boys’ parents to come pick them up.
“We hate that it had to get to that point,” officer Troy Colegrove said. “We’re just doing our job because a lot of people out here have guns. We’re not saying that your kids have guns – we’re just doing our job,” Colegrove reiterated to the mother of an innocent child he just held at gunpoint.
The video of the traumatizing experience, from the perspective of the police, can be viewed below: