(STOCKTON, Calif.) — The Stockton Police Department in California is now under fire after cellphone video of a 16-year-old’s recent arrest showed the unarmed teen crying as he was tackled to the ground by multiple officers and handcuffed.
The teen, identified by his family as Emilio Mayfield, was rushing on his way to school this past Tuesday morning because he was late when he walked out of the crosswalk and started “jaywalking” near a Stockton bus stop in an attempt to get to school faster, according to his grandfather, Reginald Duncan, who told ABC News that he is the acting spokesman for Mayfield and his mother because they were “too upset” and “traumatized” to speak publicly at this time.
“My grandson told me that he was walking when he felt a tug, but the person who tugged him didn’t identify himself, and so Emilio kept on going,” said Duncan, 66. “The area where this happened is a pretty bad area of Stockton, and he’s always been taught to keep it moving there.”
The 16-year-old “was then pulled back in a rough manner, and he realized that it was a police officer that tugged him,” Duncan said. “He said the cop looked very agitated and then threw him against a planter, took out his baton and started trying to move his baton in such a way that it was pushing him down and choking him.”
Police told ABC News that Mayfield was seen walking in a bus-only lane where “a sign was posted explicitly saying you can’t be there,” according to Joe Silva, a public information officer for the Stockton Police Department.
“When our officer asked the kid to not be in the lane, the kid immediately cussed, saying, ‘I’m not going to listen to you’ and kept walking,” Silva said. “The officer then went to legally detain the kid and in doing so, the kid pulled away from the officer and a scuffle ensued, during which, the officer’s body camera got knocked off.”
Silva added that Mayfield tried to grab the cop’s baton during the “scuffle” and that was how he ended up in the planter.
Cellphone video recorded by bystander Edgar Avendaño starts at this point, showing the officer holding the baton against Mayfield in a planter. Mayfield can be heard shouting, “Get off!” as he appears to be holding onto the baton in “self-defense,” according to Duncan.
Another woman in the background of the video can be heard yelling, “He’s a f****** kid!” as the officer continues holding the baton against Mayfield and saying “Stop resisting.”
Mayfield can be then seen trying to hold the baton again after the cop appears to be forcing it down against his ankles. The cop brings it up and appears to swing at Mayfield’s face two times.
Though it’s not clear from the video if the baton hit the teen’s face, Mayfield brings his hand to his face, and Duncan said his grandson “was hit three times.”
As Mayfield continues sitting on the planter, holding his face, the video shows the cop putting the baton back in his belt and telling Mayfield to turn around and stay on the ground.
Duncan said that by being on the planter, Mayfield thought he was on the ground and cooperating, but then the video shows three other police officers arrive and force him up from the planter.
As more officers continue to arrive, the video shows that Mayfield is then tackled face-down to the ground by four of the cops and handcuffed.
Mayfield appears to be sobbing as he stands up and appears to cooperate as he gets into the back of a police car, the video shows, before it cuts off.
Silva, the Stockton PD public information officer, said the 16-year-old was taken to the station, his mother was called and Mayfield “was cited for trespassing in a bus lane and for resisting arrest.”
“We also want to emphasize that, you know, early on, people were saying the kid was jaywalking and that was definitely not the case here,” he said. “He was not jaywalking. He was walking in a bus-only lane, and there’s a big difference. That’s trespassing.”
However, Mayfield has a copy of a citation that explicitly says the word “jaywalking,” Duncan said.
Mayfield will appear in juvenile court on a later date to answer to the charges, Silva said.
Mayfield “obviously plans on pleading not guilty,” Duncan said, adding that the family has also filed a formal complaint against the officers involved in his arrest.
“We will be investigating that complaint to the fullest extent,” Silva said. “Additionally, whenever there is a use of force, there is an automatic internal, administrative review of that force. But our preliminary investigation shows the officer was probably within policy since he had to get his baton back from the kid, you know?”
He added, “If people would comply with lawful orders from law enforcement officers and not try to grab or take away any of our weapons, force would never have to be used.”
Additionally, police will be reviewing body camera footage from all the involved officers and surveillance footage from the bus station where the arrest happened, Silva said. However, the department wasn’t releasing the footage at this time due to the pending investigations, he added.
Duncan said he wants the footage to be released and that he believes the footage “will reveal the truth of what happened.” He added that he believes the footage will help prove his grandson “is a good kid.”
“I’m a pastor, and he’s a member of my church,” he said. “He wears proper clothes, he’s not gang-affiliated. I believe what my grandson said, and I don’t believe he used profanity and tried to take the baton to hurt the cop like what the cops are trying to say.”
Users on social media have flooded the Stockton Police Department with comments supporting Mayfield and condemning the cops in the arrest.
Duncan said the support has made the family feel “happy and sad at the same time.”
“Of course, everyone wants to be surrounded by support, but at the same time, this isn’t an isolated situation in America,” Duncan said. “You raise your children to be law-abiding citizens and then the very people supposed to protect them are the ones that hurt them. Now, how do we explain that to our kids?”
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