Another troublesome incident involving police officers using excessive force has happened in Florida. This time, an African-American mother filed a complaint after learning that her 11-year-old son had been handcuffed for continually dribbling a basketball in Jacksonville on Saturday.
Apparently, dribbling a ball while young and Black in front of a police officer is a precursor to mistreatment. Sigh.
The overreacting cop, who was not identified, gave such a trivial reason for why Fatayi Jomoh, an honor roll student, was restrained. In a world where kids as young as seven years can be tasered by police, Jomoh’s mother naturally questioned why the cop would think it okay to treat her son like a criminal and use force to do so.
“The officer who handcuffed my son looked at me and said, ‘He was being disrespectful,’” Bunmi Borisade, who didn’t witness the incident at Jacksonville’s JaxPAL Police Athletic League gym, told WJXT, a local source. “I said, ‘Well, why didn’t you come and tell me? I’m his mom.’”
Jomoh had been asked by the officer to stop bouncing the ball before he was handcuffed. A little girl had told Borisade, who was in another part of the gym, about the incident, she said. Her son wasn’t arrested but the whole event could have been prevented if the officer didn’t act “forcefully.”
The mother’s complaint was filed with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) and was received by Internal Affairs on Tuesday for review, JSO confirmed.
Perhaps some officers may not act as if or care that their actions are incredibly damaging in civilian encounters, including those done against young children. Jomoh is now afraid of police — a fear that is opposite that of the PAL’s core philosophy.
“It’s ruined (my image of police) as well. I’m not going to lie and put on a show for the news,” Borisade said.
The incident stands as a haunting reminder of the need for police reform when it comes to officers dealing with children. Another 11-year-old child was tasered because a cop suspected her of shoplifting from a Cincinnati grocery store on Monday. There are limits to force that should stop an officer from using tasers or handcuffs when there is no apparent safety threat in an encounter.