Lansing Police Apologize for Handcuffing Black Teen in Case of Mistaken Identity

The Lansing Police Department in Michigan has issued an apology after a Black teen was handcuffed by a White police officer in what was later identified as a case of mistaken identity.

The incident, captured on cellphone video and shared on social media, showed the officer leading the 12-year-old boy, Tashawn Bernard, with his hands cuffed behind his back. The boy’s father, Michael Bernard, appeared to be in distress during the incident.

According to the police department, officers were investigating a series of car thefts, including one reported on West Jolly Road.

A witness described a suspect wearing neon shorts and a white shirt. A responding officer saw someone matching the description and attempted to make contact, but the person fled.

Another officer saw Tashawn Bernard and cuffed him, thinking he matched the suspect’s description. However, the initial officer clarified that Tashawn was not the suspect who had fled earlier.

After reviewing the incident, Lansing Police Chief Ellery Sosobee issued a statement apologizing for the incident.

He confirmed that the officer who detained Tashawn was respectful and professional during the investigation.

Sosobee acknowledged the impact the incident had on the young man and his family and urged the community to consider all the facts before making judgments.

The video of the incident has sparked discussions about racial profiling and the treatment of Black individuals by law enforcement.

The police department has released blurred photos of the actual suspects involved in the car thefts.

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