It was 5pm and three adolescent boys were holding their skateboards, waiting for the bus in Santa Clarita, California near Los Angeles. It should have been a normal Friday evening, but then suddenly a man approached the teens, asking if they could provide him with crack cocaine, and then attempting to rob them. Multiple witnesses watched, horrified, as the man suddenly pulled out a knife and a whip and rushed to attack the three boys.
Scrambling to intervene and save their lives, the manager of a local business called the police
, asking for help. But when the police arrived, they pointed all their guns — including an AR-15 rifle — on whom? On the teenagers. Because they were Black.Sign the petition to fire the cops involved and remove all AR-15 weapons from the force!
Onlookers immediately began calling out to the police, clarifying that the teenagers were instead the victims of a crime, and informing authorities who the actual suspect was:
"It's the other guy!"
"I am the one who called you; [that's] not them."
"Put your guns down — they're kids. They weren't doing anything!"
"I told your sergeant who was the problem and what was going on. For you guys to act this way is ridiculous."
But police didn't care to immediately listen. Instead, they told the onlookers to back away while they continued to keep the children in their guns' line of fire. Then they told each teen to walk backward with their hands up, until they reached the police cars. At that point, they were handcuffed and detained, though all three were ultimately released about 30 minutes later.
We know that all this happened because one witness recorded the 11-minute ordeal on her phone. As of August 12th, that video has been viewed more than 8 million times, and it's probably the only reason this catastrophe ever appeared in the news.While we're relieved beyond words that these boys are still alive and ultimately returned home safely, their safety should never have been in question.
We shouldn't have to be grateful and relieved that the police didn't shoot Black kids. We shouldn't have to be glad they didn't kill or arrest unarmed, innocent civilians. We should be able to expect that our supposed "law enforcement" officers actually protect people
— particularly children and victims of crimes. On top of that, what in the world are police doing with AR-15s? These are assault-style semi-automatic rifles that are designed for combat and warfare. But we are not at war on our streets. Police have no business carrying these terrifying military weapons!
All three of these kids could have been shot and killed that day. They each could have become just another face on a protest sign. Just another name in an Instagram post. Just another statistic on a sickening chart of police murders. Just another grave.
Thank goodness they weren't. But it's not
thanks to the cops.
So far, the Sheriff for Los Angeles County, Alex Villanueva, has said that "The matter is being investigated," but what does that really mean? In the past, it's often meant that killer and would-be-killer cops get off scot free. NOT THIS TIME!
These cops were reckless, they endangered young lives, and they were ready to hunt down three boys, only suspecting them because — essentially — it is a crime to live while Black in the United States.
The Sheriff says he's watched the video. It's time for him to act. Demand that Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva actually do something by removing all AR-15 military weapons from his department and by firing the dangerous police officers who almost killed three young teens!