US NEWS Syracuse police detain 8-year-old boy over stolen bag of...

Syracuse police detain 8-year-old boy over stolen bag of chips

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A sobbing 8-year-old boy was shepherded into a Syracuse police car over the weekend for allegedly stealing a bag of chips.

By Wednesday, video of the encounter has racked up more than 50,000 views on Facebook and more than 1 million on Twitter and drawn condemnation from the local mayor and Gov. Hochul, even after the boy was released without charges.

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“Let me just say as a mother: That was a heart-wrenching video to witness. A child weeping, being pulled by the police officers, put in the back of a police car over a bag of potato chips — at least that’s what the evidence says right now,” Hochul said at an unrelated press conference in Syracuse Wednesday morning.

“We’re all parents. Many of us are parents. And you can’t help but imagine the fear in that child as he had to endure that experience. And the mayor and I talk about this – building the trust back between the community and the police is so important. It has to start. It is starting.

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“And, you know, it’s just the realization that in Black and brown communities all over our state, and all over our country, they’re not as shocked as others are to see this,” Hochul continued. “Because they’ve been conditioned to a different kind of treatment from policing agencies and others throughout their lives. So that’s a statement that we need to do more. 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.”

The 8-year-old boy was detained after allegedly stealing a bag of chips. (Kenneth Jackson via Facebook)

The four-minute videotaken and shared online by Kenneth Jackson Sunday, begins with a white officer holding the young Black boy with his hands behind his back and walking him towards a police cruiser while at least two other officers watch.

“If he breaks into your house and steals something, then what?” one of the officers asks.

“You’re treating him like a cold-blooded f–king killer,” Jackson responds before offering to pay for the chips himself.

Another adult man then chimes in and yells at the officers.

“He’s a baby,” the two say repeatedly.

In a public statement, the Syracuse Police Department insisted that the boy was never handcuffed and was brought directly to his father’s house.

“The incident, including the Officers’ actions and body-worn cameras, are being reviewed,” the statement reads.

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The boy’s father, Anthony Weah, told Syracuse.com that he wants to file a complaint against the officers, who have not been publicly identified.

“Why would the police treat that child like that?” Weah said. “Over a $3 bag of chips.”

Mayor Ben Walsh did not immediately return a request for comment spoke about Hochul’s remarks from the Daily News Wednesday, but the mayor said Tuesday that he personally asked Police Chief Ken Buckner to investigate the incident.

“The officer knew the child from prior interactions and explained to him that he was being taken home. The officers returned the child to his family and discussed the incident with his father before leaving without filing any charges,” he said in a statement.

“What occurred demonstrates the continuing need for the city to provide support to our children and families and to invest in alternative response options to assist our officers.”

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