Maplewood police address social media video showing children detained
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Tuesday afternoon, Maplewood police addressed a social media video that shows officers detaining children.
Maplewood Police Lt. Joe Steiner said officers responded to a report of gunshots fired in the 1700 block of Cope Avenue at around 9:32 p.m. Monday. The complainant who called the police said they could hear gunshots and see four juveniles walking away from a business on surveillance video.
When officers arrived at the scene at around 9:35 p.m., they found four juveniles nearby. Two ran but later returned.
Steiner said the officers detained the juveniles while they were investigating and, after reviewing more surveillance video, they determined the juveniles weren’t the ones on the surveillance footage and they were released.
According to Steiner, the juveniles were released after having been held by police for about 45 minutes. He noted that the juveniles were handcuffed and placed in squads about 20 minutes into their detainment.
“Through the investigation, and developing new information, they believed these juveniles were most likely involved in the shots fired incident and that’s why they were handcuffed and seated in the back of the squad cars while officers continued their investigation,” said Steiner. “That’s standard procedure and that’s for the safety of the juveniles, the officers, and the public.”
He said despite being handcuffed, the children were not arrested. According to Steiner, it is common practice to handcuff an individual who is not under arrest “when the safety need arises to detain someone”.
Additionally, Steiner said the officers were courteous and explained to the juveniles why they were being detained, and the juveniles cooperated with the officers.
“Our officers acted very professionally during this incident and exactly how we’d expect them to act,” Steiner said.
“We take the safety of our community seriously,” Steiner added, noting the shots were fired near a busy highway and in a residential area, and the nature of the incident and severity factors into the decision to detain someone. He also said detaining a suspect in that situation is standard procedure.
The mother of one of the kids who was detained, Toshira Garraway, could be seen on that social media post and was very upset about what was happening. She met with Maplewood police Tuesday to discuss what happened and go through evidence — including surveillance video.
Even after their explanation, Garraway said she feels it shouldn’t have happened the way it did.
“My concern is by looking at the footage that I just saw, they really didn’t have a reason throw the kids in handcuffs and throw them in the back of the car. They didn’t have a reason to do that,” Garraway said.
“They have no idea for what it’s like as a mom to get a call like that from my son to say, ‘Mom, they have me in the back of a police car in handcuffs,’” she added.
Police told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the officers involved had their body cameras rolling and that evidence will back up a couple key claims: the timeline and how the officers handled the situation. A Maplewood spokesperson said because this incident involves juveniles, it’s going to take more time to release the footage to protect their privacy.
The incident remains under investigation and Steiner said officers are working to find the suspects who actually fired gunshots.