Police say an internal investigation has been launched relating to the video posted on social media where an officer can be heard threatening to break the leg of a 17-year-old high school student near the Blaisdell YMCA in south Minneapolis.
Urban League Academy High School senior and 17-year-old Hamza Jeylani, alleges that he and three friends had been playing basketball at the YMCA on March 18 when officers pulled over their car and an officer proceeded to threaten the teen that he would break his leg and arrest him because he “feels like arresting” him.
The police ordered them out and “took all of our stuff out of the car,” he said.
Jeylani, 17, who said he recorded the video (Note: video contains profanity), before an officer slapped it out of his hand, said they had made a U-turn to avoid an encounter with police. The police stopped their car.
“They did not tell us why we were being arrested,” he said. “They just took us into handcuffs.”
Jeylani said the officers handcuffed and put him and his friends in the back of two police cars for nearly an hour. He said the police did not tell them why they were being detained.
“I never said I was going to run,” Jeylani replies. “Can you tell me why I’m being arrested?”
“Because I feel like arresting you,” Webber replied. “I’m just giving you a heads up. Just trying to be Officer Friendly right now.”
“Can you tell me why I’m being arrested?” Jeylani asks.
“Because I feel like arresting you,” Webber says.
“Plain and simple,” you can hear – the now identified officer – Rod Webber say in the video, “if you f*ck with me, I’m going to break your leg before you get the chance to run…I’m being honest, I don’t screw around,” he says.
While the teens were in handcuffs the officers at the scene searched the vehicle before the teens were eventually let go. The police took the young men’s information and told them: “Stay out of trouble. We will contact you,” according to Jeylani.
The four boys are of Somali descent, and said they believe they were racially profiled by officer Webber.
“They had their guns drawn,” Liban Yusuf, 18, another passenger of the vehicle told My Fox. “I don’t know why they were so aggressive.”
Faysal Mohamed, said that the officers pulled them out of the car because they had suspected it was stolen. The minors were put in handcuffs and waited close to an hour as police searched the car and did background checks on the boys, Mohamed told My Fox Twin Cities.
“MPD values our connection to the community and we strive to build public trust,” the statement from the police department said. “We will make information available to the public as soon as legally possible.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on the Department of Justice to investigate the incident last Friday.
Edina High School junior Faysal Mohamed, 17, who was also a passenger in the vehicle said he does not feel safe around the police after the encounter. “Anytime I see the police I get scared,” he said.
Although the teens claim to have been at the YMCA playing basketball with his friends all day, according to WCCO, the YMCA told us they don’t have any record of Mohamed being there that day.
The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Friday called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the video.
“This type of troubling incident only serves to harm the trust that is necessary between law enforcement officers and the community they serve and protect,” said CAIR-MN executive director Jaylani Hussein. “The Department of Justice should open an independent investigation of this case.”
What the boys were guilty of prior to police pulling them over has not been officially released, however, questions are raised as to the officer’s attitude, connoting abuse of his authority by threatening to harm the minor as well as suggesting an arrest without cause are called into question.