Philly Police Open Investigation After 14-Year-Old Selling Water Outside Philadelphia Zoo Is Violently Arrested
The boy said he was selling the water to raise money for his football team.
An investigation has popped off after a video of a kid being aggressively arrested for selling water went viral, the Associated Press reports.
A 14-year-old boy was led away in cuffs after a Philadelphia Zoo security guard complained about a group of kids selling water at the zoo’s entrance. The group claimed all proceeds from the water sales were going toward their football team.
Officers claimed when they approached the boy who was arrested, he walked off.
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A video posted on Facebook shows the boy being lifted and thrown to the ground as witnesses scream in protest.
One security guard is seen yelling "Is this what you want?" at her colleague.
Gregory Muhammed, 53, was also selling water near the boys. When he tried to intervene, he was also arrested and tased. The boy and Muhammad were later released with disorderly conduct citations.
"Why would you get physical with the children?" Muhammad said to Fox 29. "There's no crime, and there's no one being victimized. This is real water — it's cold."
The Philadelphia Police Department has opened an internal investigation to decide whether the officers acted appropriately. The Police Department says the group was selling water without a permit, and the boys are not affiliated with a football team.
"Trying to really ascertain what prompted this whole incident whether or not we got reports kids were running out in traffic," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said. "Sometimes we get in awkward situations. It's the nature of the job we have, the unfortunate part of the job we have. Sometimes we get summoned for jobs that really aren't in our purview."
In a statement to The Philly Voice, Philadelphia Zoo director of communications Dana Lombardo says the arrests were “unusual” and “unfortunate,” but she defended the officer’s actions.
Lombardo says this isn’t the first time the group has caused trouble, accusing them of "soliciting money from Zoo guests" and "throwing rocks at a Zoo member (just the previous day)." She said they also harassed a female security officer “just before” the incident.
Black Lives Matter activist Asa Khalif released a video statement condemning the arrest and vowed to act on the group's behalf.
"They have been warned that we want answers and if we don't get those answers, we will be in front of the zoo and protest in front and shut that zoo down and the street if necessary," Khalif said.
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