COBB COUNTY, Ga. — The Cobb County Police chief says he's opened an internal investigation after an officer was caught on camera arresting a 12-year-old rapper.
Numerous Channel 2 Action News viewers shared the now-viral video with us and criticized the officer for being unnecessarily harsh on a child.
Channel 2's Tom Jones spoke exclusively with Chief Michael Register, who said his officer didn't do anything wrong.
Register said there is more to the story than what was caught on camera. But he says because he's gotten countless phone calls and complaints, he opened an investigation into the incident.
"Does he have a right to put his hands on that child?" Jones asked Register.
"He was within his rights," Register said.
The child on the video is Corey Jackson, who also goes by Lil C-Note. Jackson is a young rapper who is well known for trying to sell his CDs at local businesses.
The mall considers that trespassing. Chief Register said the mall had given Jackson a criminal trespass warning and told him twice he couldn't sell CDs on the property.
When a mall security guard caught him in the act on Oct. 6, Register said Jackson became combative so they called over an off-duty police officer. The officer said Jackson tried to bend the officer's fingers back and push or punch him in the chest.
That part of the confrontation didn't end up on video, Register said.
What did end up on video was the officer appearing to squeeze Jackson by the arm and argue with him.
“You’re 12?” the officer is heard asking the boy. “You’re about to go to jail. You’re going to go to a youth detention center if you don’t [inaudible].”
Jackson argued back.
"He told the police officer, 'I don't have to speak with you. I know my rights,'" Register said.
The camera is jostled as an apparent altercation breaks out and the video ends with the officer calling in the incident as another officer restrains Jackson.
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Jackson's aunt, who was at the mall with her nephew, also started to scuffle with the officer. She was charged with felony obstruction. Jackson was charged as well, but released into the custody of his father.
Register said the incident could have been avoided if Jackson had cooperated and not tried to leave the scene.
"I wish the aunt, who is an adult, would simply have tried to de-escalate the situation," Register said.
He said what his officer did was legal and that the mall said it was the third time Jackson had been caught selling CDs.
The officer is still on duty, but has gotten death threats, according to Register. The officer has had to shut down all of his social media accounts.
Jones tried to reach out to Jackson and his family but didn't get a response.The Instagram account the video was posted on has since been deleted.
Cox Media Group