TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Police in Syracuse are reviewing a controversial video that captured the moment a distressed boy was placed into the back of a police vehicle after he was allegedly caught stealing a bag of chips.
The video, which has gained millions of views across Facebook and Twitter, showed an officer holding the arms of the boy, who is crying and screaming as he moved toward the police vehicle.
A bystander who captured the incident on video can be heard saying the child looks too young to be treated as a “cold-blooded killer.”
After a brief exchange between the bystander and police, an officer attempts to explain that the child was caught stealing, but was cut off by another witness. Several bystanders can be heard trying to intervene, saying they will pay for the chips so the child can be let go.
The boy suspected of larceny was not placed in handcuffs, according to a statement from police.
“He was placed in the rear of a patrol unit where he was directly brought home,” the statement said. “Officers met with the child’s father and no charges were filed.”
In another statement, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said, “the officers knew the child from prior interactions and explained to him that he was being taken home.” He added, “what occurred demonstrates the continuing need for the City to provide support to our children and families and to invest in alternative response options to assist our officers.”
Police said the incident, including the officers’ actions and body-worn cameras, were being reviewed.