ATLANTA — It was witness video that almost instantly went viral after a neighbor recorded a Clayton County police officer holding a group of teen boys at gunpoint.
It happened Monday night and people quickly shared the video across social media, to include Channel 2’s Facebook page.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Nicole Carr spent the day Tuesday to figure out how the incident unfolded.
The police department also released the officer’s body camera, 911 calls and surveillance video to help show what transpired Monday night.
As you watch the Shanelle Ladd’s cell phone video, you can hear her in the background yelling, “Please they babies! Why you got a gun out? Why you got a gun out?” as the officer holds the group of teens at gunpoint.
The officer had just come from a nearby store, where a clerk called 911 on the boys around 7 p.m., saying one of them had a gun. The clerk tells the operator he doesn’t know what type of gun it is, but it’s later confirmed some of the kids had been tossing around a BB gun.
911 dispatcher: “Are they like teenagers?”
Clerk: “Yes ma’am. They didn’t put the gun on me they just tried to show off the gun in the parking lot.”
The clerk said the kids were fighting in the parking lot, but surveillance shows them playing around sharing a canned drink and three of the five tossing what ended up being the BB gun.
The Clayton Officer responded and drove up on the group in a nearby neighborhood.
“Get your hands up, now! Listen to me so you don’t get hurt,” the officer is heard telling the group as he approaches them with his gun raised.
It’s the point when concerned neighbors started recording.
“He pulled out a gun first. He didn’t ask any questions. He didn’t reach for a Taser,” Ladd told Carr. “He didn’t put his hand on his gun. He pulled his gun out and pointed it down at five 13-, 14-year-old children and they didn’t deserve that. We simply wanted the police to put his gun down. There were so many other ways to go about this situation, and he did not take those actions. These boys had their hands up. There was no weapon and this officer was not in any immediate danger.”
“Remember, I’m here because one of y’all might have a gun. Pay no attention to the crowd,” the body cam footage shows the officer telling the teens.
“I’m not Superman. I can’t see through their clothes so mind your business,” the officer tells the people who have gathered nearby.
Once backup arrives, the video shows the officer frisk the kids. They don’t have a gun.
“Alright, what happened when you were in the store just now?” the officer asks the teens.
“Nothing. We were just walking back. We were just playing,” two of the kids respond. “We bought something, we were about to buy something. That’s when we started play fighting.”
“I stopped y’all because of what’s going on. We’re going to walk back over to the store and we’re going to go from there guys,” the officer said.
As he gets back in the car, the officer tells the bystanders that” nobody died today.”
“Y’all don’t know what’s going on that’s what the problem is,” the officer told the bystanders, threatening jail for anyone who gets in the way.
The officer and kids go back to the store.
“Nobody got hurt. Y’all listened to me. That was great,” the officer told the kids. “I don’t want to die either y’all. There’s a lot going on out here. Y’all listen, nothing happened right? Nobody got called out their name, nobody got cursed out at. Nobody yelled at you. It got extra when everybody and their mother got involved.”
The next thing the video shows, is the officer heads to the bushes where one of the kids shows him where to find the BB gun.
“Where did you throw it young man? Listen you’re not in trouble. You can get hurt. You shouldn’t have BB guns. The guy pulls up, I have it a minute later,” the officer tells one of the teens. “That’s the problem. This looks like a real gun. Y’all pull this out, you’re going to get shot man. Come on man. This looks more real than my gun.”
Carr met with one of the boys, their families and activists late Tuesday afternoon.
“If the police got such a narrative and has such influence from a 911 call, why don't we ever see little white kids being held at gunpoint?” Atlanta rapper and activist Clifford “T.I” Harris asked, when posed a question about the police response.
“He don't get into any type of trouble for him to go through this and he's been saying he couldn't sleep last night or anything. So it's very traumatizing,” Moore’s mother Lashunda Jackson said.
The group emphasized that Moore was not one of the boys playing with the BB gun.
“Truth be told, I don’t know any of you personally. But I know when this story breaks there’ll be a lot about the BB gun, there’ll be a lot about the store clerk. It’s not going to be a lot about this family,” activist Marcus Coleman said.
“Let me just make sure we clear -- that officer’s got to go,” Coleman said. “ Not just for his actions but if you watch the tape he is scared as I don’t know what. He’s jittery .”
“As I watched that film, I couldn’t help but to think, ‘What would have happened if the community didn’t show up and show up for them that day? “asked activist Mary Pat Hector.
“We’re saying we would like to see revisions, and not just your (police) revisions, we want you to give the community an opportunity to say this is how we want you to police us,” Hector continued, saying they’d pushed the police chief for dialogue on de-escalation methods earlier in the day.
On Tuesday evening, Police Chief Kevin Roberts met with activists for a second time. He promised to meet with the kids and their parents, and engage the community on the department’s de-escalation training.
Roberts also defended the officer. Watch the full exchange:
"(He) controlled the situation without any violence, without any malcontent, no profanity use. He was calm as the wind, the officer was calm as the wind, talking to those four (five), but everyone around the situation was the storm,” Roberts told the group.
The officer gets out of the car with his gun drawn, and begins yelling at the group that’s walking towards him in a nearby neighborhood.
“Stop. All of y’all stop. Get your hands up. Up! Walk towards me. Get your hands up or you’re going to get hurt. Get your hands up,” the officer yells at the teens.
“I thought I was going to die,” Moore said.
Moore began to tear up when talking with reporters late Tuesday afternoon, alongside his mother and community activists.
“They shouldn’t have never did that,” he said. “We didn’t even have nothing to do with them (the boys with the BB gun). They ( police) didn’t even ask us what our rights were."
Moore said he didn’t know all the other boys, and you can see them walking in separate groups as the officer comes into the neighborhood.
As the officer has his gun drawn, a crowd of concerned neighbors, including Ladd began recording.
“I knew that if that community wasn’t there, and one of those boys made the wrong move and what that police officer felt was the wrong move, that one of those little boys would not have made it home that day,” activist Mary Pat Hector said.
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