MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Young teenagers who were detained by Minneapolis Park Police at Minnehaha Park last week spoke up about the incident on Monday.
A passerby videotaped part of the incident last Tuesday night, which shows the boys handcuffed on the ground by a squad car.
The next day, the park police chief questioned the validity of the 911 call.
The boys said the incident started after someone shouted racist comments at them.
Aden, 14, stood on Monday with his mother and two of the other boys detained by police.
“When I was at the park, I was just trying to have a good day with my friends, and then this white kid came up to us saying racial slurs towards us,” Aden said.
Police say a 911 caller described seeing the boys holding knives and sticks, and said she heard one of them say he had a gun in his backpack.
“When the cops came, they just pulled guns to our faces,” Aden said.
Aden was with his friend, Suhaib Ahmed, who is also 14.
He described the incident when Minneapolis Park Police arrived.
“He told me to get down, then he handcuffed me,” Ahmed said. “Then picked me up. He slammed me to the ground. I was scared. One was shaking. I was scared he was going to shoot me.”
Park police officers searched the teens, but no weapons were found.
Police also talked with witnesses who backed up what the boys described – a man taunting them.
“I was scared. I thought that would be my last day in this world,” said 13-year-old Abdijabar Ahmed.
The local leader of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called the incident “disturbing.”
“While the gun was drawn by a police officer, it was obviously noticeable to the young men that he was trembling, which shows how this incident could have become, unfortunately, extremely tragic,” said Jaylani Hussein, executive director for the council.
The mothers of the boys described, through a translator, how their sons are now afraid to leave their homes.
Minneapolis Park Police say they have not been able to connect with the 911 caller for questioning, but they are still investigating this case, and so is an independent investigator.
Making a false report to police is a crime.
Minneapolis Park Police Chief Jason Ohotto, Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board Superintendent Mary Merrill and other MPRB officials met with the families on Friday to listen to concerns and apologize.