A Georgia police department has come under criticism again this week after a viral video showed a controversial incident involving one of its officers.
Cobb County police may fire the officer being investigated after he grabbed a 12-year-old African-American boy by the arm and dragged him in an Atlanta mall earlier this month. The incident, which led to the boy facing a felony charge, comes after the beleaguered department faced scrutiny because of other controversial encounters.
The October 6 event involved an officer, who was unidentified, stopping Corey J, a local kid rapper who goes by the name Lil C-Note, at the city’s Cumberland Mall. The cop grabbed Corey J by his arm, ordered him to stop and told him that he was “about to go to jail.”
“The fact that he snatched me & was trying to drag me around like I’m some criminal that’s stealing, robbing or killing or sum is crazy,” Corey J. said about the encounter on Instagram. “But tha worst part is he trying to charging me with a #felony putting my hands on a #PoliceOfficer he say I tried to brake his fingers, he say I cussed him & he say I pushed him!”
The boy’s aunt tried to de-escalate the situation by telling the officer that her nephew did nothing wrong and calling Corey’s father. The situation, however, grew more tense, with the aunt and officer exchanging words. The video ends with a mall security officer holding the boy.
As to why the officer stopped Corey in the first place, police charged that he had violated a previously issued criminal trespass order for selling CDs at the mall on Oct. 6. They defended the officer, who they believe was in his “legal rights to detain” the pre-teen, Police Chief Mike Register told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and said at a press conference on Tuesday (Oct. 16.)
Though the cop has been called out for his actions, Corey J has been charged with criminal trespass, felony and misdemeanor obstruction. The incident speaks to the criminalization of Black children who are often caught in the school-to-prison pipeline.
The Cobb County Police Department— also involved in a recent “Babysitting While Black” incident in which a white woman called the cops on a Black babysitter watching two white children —sparked outrage previously when an officer told a woman that they “only shoot Black people” during a traffic stop last August. Calls for police reform will likely grow after these incidents.
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