California Dolphin: statewide California news

San Jose: Parents, police at odds over 14-year-old boy’s arrest gone viral

To view the full video, click here . Warning: The video contains explicit language.
SAN JOSE — A video involving a 14-year-old boy’s arrest for an alleged assault has gone viral, drawing wide support from all over the country and apparently resonating with people long frustrated with police aggression.
Angry over the arrest of their son, the boy’s family lashed out against San Jose police and posted the video on Monday, shortly after the boy’s arrest that morning at Los Paseos Park off Santa Teresa Boulevard.
“He’s a little shaken up, doesn’t really know what’s going on, or know why he’s being victimized,” said the boy’s father, Manuel Mirabal, who shot the video. “He’s feeling unsafe about school. He’s kind of scared of cops now. It took an emotional toll on him.”
Police have pushed back, saying the video was a narrow glimpse of a longer encounter, and lacks the context of what happened before the camera started recording.
“That video just encapsulates the frustration of the dad coming on scene after this event occurs. It doesn’t portray the whole event from beginning to the end,” said San Jose police Assistant Chief Dave Knopf. “Based on the investigation, an assault and battery occurred, that was what the officers were addressing.”
The official police account of the arrest states that the boy was walking in the park when he made “derogatory statements” to two other people, and that the interaction grew heated. The reported victim then approached the boy in an attempt to defuse the situation, and a physical struggle broke out. Police said the boy punched the would-be peacemaker in the face, inflicting minor injuries.
Cellphone footage shot by the boy’s father after the arrest shows his son being led away in handcuffs. Unsatisfied with the police sergeant’s contention that the boy was the instigator of a confrontation that led to a scuffle, Mirabal aggressively questions the sergeant.
The father can be heard in the background saying that his son’s and witness accounts simply indicate his son was fending off strangers’ questions about where he was walking before the scuffle broke out.
“He’s a victim, what’s with the cuffs?” Mirabal asks.
The sergeant replies, “It really strongly appears that he was the cause of everything that happened,” adding that witnesses told responding officers that the boy was the instigator.
The sergeant sought to explain the boy’s culpability, drawing an analogy to someone who incites a riot being potentially liable for any ensuing physical violence. An incredulous Mirabal asks, “So if someone says something to someone, expressing their First Amendment right, you’re telling me that someone can go punch him in the face?”
In what police would later describe as an attempt to defuse the tension, the sergeant gave a passive nod. Mirabal, apparently feeling that he had a gotcha moment, retreated from the scene.
“I got that on video. Thank you. ‘Cause I got lawyers,” he said.
Knopf said the sergeant was prioritizing peace in the moment.
“The officers did the best they could under the circumstances, it was a tense situation,” he said.
The video, which Mirabal posted about two hours after his son’s arrest, got immediate traction on Facebook. To date, it’s garnered over 457,000 views, had been shared nearly 15,000 times, and elicited hundreds of comments and replies from across the country. The comments included expressions of sympathy, but they mostly voiced how the incident affirmed their broad suspicion of police.
Mirabal said his son was released from Juvenile Hall on Tuesday after staying there overnight. He says officials told him his son would not be criminally charged, but that could not be immediately corroborated by this news organization.
The accounts offered by police and Mirabal starkly differ in terms of who was the aggressor, but they do agree that the 14-year-old boy responded to people asking him where he was headed. How forcefully he did so depends on who you ask.
“Why are they even challenging a kid? I’ve taught my kids to stand up for themselves, and that when strangers ask where they’re going, to tell them it’s none of their business,” Mirabal said. “Where they’re going is mine and my wife’s business only.”
He added, “This wouldn’t have happened had they never bothered him in the first place. Then they fabricated it to make it look like my son’s the aggressor.”
The encounter marks another in a growing number of instances where social media has empowered citizens to seize control of narratives that were previously commanded by police reports and news releases, leaving police in a new position of having to quell unrest online as well as on the street.
“One of the issues we deal with, when people utilize social media to tell a story, not all of the facts are presented,” Knopf said. “Understandably, you have a father upset about his 14-year-old son being arrested, but it was a one-way conversation. To be fair, you need both sides of the story so people can get a better understanding.”
Mirabal said he has filed a police complaint and is exploring possible civil litigation. He has been heartened by the outpouring of support since he posted the video.
“It’s really good because prior to this, my son would have just been another statistic. If we didn’t get this type of exposure, he might still be in Juvenile Hall,” he said. “It feels good to have support we have. No one wants to go through this alone.”
Check back later for updates to this story.

Top News

Ain't No God; don't even think about theism

UnFox News: not a propaganda arm of the Republican party