A 12-year-old boy who was wrongfully detained by Lansing Police in Michigan is now speaking out. As The Shade Room previously reported, the police department released a statement after the incident went viral earlier this month.
RELATED: Michigan Police Respond After Viral Video Shows Cops Arresting Preteen Seen Taking Out Trash: ‘Wrong Place, Wrong Time’
The 12-Year-Old And His Father Reflect On The “Traumatic And Emotional Experience”
Tashawn Bernard and his father, Michael Bernard, sat down for an exclusive interview with Good Morning America following the incident earlier this month.
“When it happened, I was really shocked and frightened about, like, the situation and how it happened,” the 12-year-old explained. “And right now, I’m feeling just the same way, like, just really shocked how this — how it came to this circumstance of what’s going on.”
Michael Bernard explained to the outlet that his son is a straight-A student who wants to become an engineer. He believes the situation could have worsened had his son panicked.
“I was so mad I didn’t want to hear anything,” the father said, reflecting on the incident. “At this time and era in America, I am scared for anything to happen to my son.”
As The Shade Room previously reported, the event unfolded after Bernard asked his son to take out the trash. However, he explained to GMA that he became concerned when his son didn’t return. The father then looked out his apartment window to see the 12-year-old surrounded by police.
“I saw police around him, so I dropped what I had in my hand and rushed downstairs, and I said to the police officer, ‘Why do you have my son in handcuffs? What’s the problem?” he explained.
Bernard explained that his son is still “puzzled” about the incident today.
“He asks the question, ‘What have I done?'” the father told the outlet.
The Bernards’ Lawyer Refutes The Lansing Police Department’s Explanation Of The Wrongful Arrest
According to the outlet, Rico Neal, the attorney working on behalf of the Bernard family, says the incident “has been a very traumatic and emotional experience” for Tashawn and his entire family.
Additionally, Neal refutes that Tashawn was wearing a similar outfit to the suspect the Lansing Police Department initially desired to apprehend.
“The shirt that he was wearing was light gray or a light blue-ish colored shirt,” Neal explained. “There is no mistaking if you see that shirt.”
Currently, the Bernard family is reportedly keeping all options open in their pursuit to receive justice in the matter — including filing a lawsuit.
“I want justice for my son, justice,” Michael Bernard explained.
Additionally, the family explained to the outlet that they have yet to be contacted by Lansing Mayor Andy Schor or Lansing Police.
The Lansing Police Department Continues To Speak Out Following The Incident
As The Shade Room previously reported, the viral video was posted on TikTok on August 10. In the video, Tashawn Bernard is seen in handcuffs. Meanwhile, his father and onlookers appear to tell the police that the boy was taking out the trash.
Video of the incident proceeds for over four minutes before Lansing police officers finally release the 12-year-old from handcuffs.
Kid taking out trash being harassed by police. Father defending his son. Wrong person.
On Friday, the Lansing Police Department released a statement concerning the child’s wrongful arrest via Facebook. The statement explained that an officer was pursuing a suspect connected to a string of Kia robberies. The suspect was reportedly wearing “neon shorts and a white shirt.” However, they fled to a nearby apartment complex, and upon pursuit by a separate officer Tashawn Bernard was apprehended due to his “very similar outfit.”
“The initial officer was able to respond and clarify the young man in the video was not the suspect who fled earlier. Once this information was obtained, the young man was released and officers continued to search the area. We are including pictures of both individuals.”
Later that day, Lansing Police Chief Ellery Sosebee shared an additional statement via Facebook.
“I have reviewed the incident and can confirm the officer who contacted and detained the young man was respectful and professional during his investigation… We understand that something like this has an impact on all parties involved. As the Chief of Police, I want to apologize that this incident had such an effect on this young man and his family. I’m asking for the community to consider all the facts of the situation before making a judgment. The relationship with our community has been and will continue to be a top priority for the Lansing Police Department.”
Roomies, what are your thoughts?