If you talk to some older Black men who grew up on the inner city streets of places like New York, Chicago, or Philadelphia in the 1960s-70s, you might hear some of them state that when cops came around, you just ran, even if you didn’t do anything. That was because cops in those cities were known to prey upon young Black men for various reasons. In these cities, it was common at that time to round up young Black men and put them in a police lineup because they fit the description. It was a terrifying moment for many, because it meant that you might go to jail for something you did not do, based solely on the color of your skin and your community. Jump forward to 2018 and the story seems to be the same in Chicago.
Michael Thomas Jr., 10, was playing in his grandparents’ front yard when a police cruiser sped to a stop in front of him. The child panicked and tried to run when police grabbed him and took him in handcuffs to the patrol car. Neighbors who witnessed the encounter confronted the officers, yelling that the cops should leave him alone because he did not do anything. The police told the gathering crowd that they had received a 911 call about a juvenile with a gun in the area and Michael fit the description. According to witnesses, the police stated, “We’re going to let him go once we figure this out.”
Michael’s grandmother came out and said to police, “You can see that he doesn’t have any weapons on him. I raised up my grandbaby’s shirt. He don’t have anything on him. Take those handcuffs off of him.” At one point in the footage when the cops stated that he ran, someone says, “Of course he ran, Y’all killed his father.”
The scene was captured on cell phone video and later released online. Michael was eventually released unharmed. However, it took an emotional toll on the child who wet his pants while in handcuffs. I was an incident that will more than likely remain with him for life.
The video has been viewed over two million times in the past 48 hours. It can be seen below: