Florida police officer accused of handcuffing a black child for "dribbling a basketball"
A police officer in Jacksonville, Florida handcuffed an 11-year-old black boy for dribbling a ball in a basketball court, according to reports. The incident ironically occurred at the Police Athletic League, which has an inspirational slogan on the side of its building which reads: "Filling playgrounds, not prisons." The child's mother, 33-year-old Bunmi Borisade, while talking to HuffPost, said: "I can’t believe these officers did this to my son. It hurts. They didn’t even care he is a child."
The mother said that she and her son, Fayati, had gone to a youth basketball game at the West 33rd Street JaxPAL gym on August 4 when the incident occurred. Borisade said that she was made aware of her son's arrest after a little girl approached and told her what had happened.
"This 6-year-old came up to me and said, ‘Your son is being handcuffed for dribbling a basketball.' I was confused and went to find my son," Borisade said.
The mother added that when she found her child, she saw him standing next to a police car and he was surrounded by four deputies from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
"My son’s hands were handcuffed behind his back and he was in tears," the mother said while adding that she asked the officers why they had put her son in handcuffs and they replied with: "He was being disrespectful."
Borisade said that the officers provided no additional information on what her son had done to receive such a treatment.
"I said, 'Are you serious?" and he said there is a sign posted on the property that states children and adults must remain together at all times," the mother told HuffPost.
The child's basketball coach, Lo Miller, also talked to the news outlet and said that when the officer confronted Fatayi, he went and asked the officer what was going on. The deputy then told him that Fayati had been dribbling a ball on the basketball court after the game and had refused to do so after the officers requested him to stop. The child then ran when he was confronted.
The mother said that when she questioned her son, he told her that he did not hear anyone asking him to stop bouncing the ball and said that he only heard someone yell: "I know you hear me, boy."
"He said he looked and when he saw this big man coming at him he got scared and ran. He told me he was running to find me, but he didn’t make it. He said the man grabbed him by the arm, pushed him up against a wall and said, 'Now you’re going to see what it feels like to be arrested,'" Borisade added.
The officer reportedly released the child into his mother's custody shortly after speaking with his coach. The coach reportedly said he did not understand why the officer thought it was necessary to handcuff the boy.
"He went way overboard, and there is no excuse for that," the coach said while referring to the deputy. "Fatayi is a good kid. He’s well mannered ― always saying, ‘Yes, sir, and no, sir’ ― and is an A and B honor roll student."
The executive director of the Police Athletic League in Jacksonville, Lt. Lakesha Burton, in a statement to the outlet, said that they were "aware" of the situation and a review is being conducted.
"We are aware of the incident. An administrative review is being conducted. We cannot release any further information until that review has been completed," Burton said.