An activist organization says that police in Arlington, Texas, told an African-American mother to hand over her video (below) of her teen sons being arrested on July 3 to have the charges dropped.
The Next Generation Action Network, a Dallas-based activist group, posted Latasha Nelson's video on their Facebook page on July 12 with a statement:
ANOTHER TRAYVON?! A frantic mother watches in horror as Arlington Police Department assault and arrest her two teenage sons. Based upon absolutely no evidence whatsoever, the 14 year-old was charged with burglary of a habitation and the 16 year-old was charged with interfering with official police duties.
The mother was assured that the charges against her boys would be dropped. But only if she surrendered this video to the police. Please call Arlington Police Department to demand that all charges be dropped immediately and that they return the mother's cell phone and Terminate Arlington Police Officer [name redacted].
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In the video, Nelson films as her 14-year-old son, Trayvon, is placed in a police car. Nelson asks a police officer where they are taking him and he refuses to tell her because she is allegedly not being cooperative.
"I'm not uncooperative," Nelson tells the officer. "All I just said to you was, 'He is a good kid.' And you said that he's not going to cooperate. You're going to ask him if he's a tough guy? He's 14 years old."
The cop responds: "I'm looking for a reason to be able to release him. I'm not finding that."
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"You're not finding it because you want somebody not to cooperate," Nelson tells the cop. "What do y'all got to do? Do y'all just constantly have to kill our kids for y'all to just sit here and think that their life is valuable?"
Nelson demands that the officer tell her where her 14-year-old son has been taken by the police, and the officer accuses her, on his radio, of interfering in his investigation.
The officer suddenly grabs Nelson's 16-year-old son, Broderick, pushes him to the pavement and handcuffs him.
Dominique Alexander, who heads the Next Generation Action Network, said at a news conference on July 13 of Trayvon's arrest: "They just picked the first one that they saw that was black and that had a backpack on," notes The Dallas Morning News.
The Arlington Police Department said in a statement that Trayvon matched a witness description of one of two teens who burglarized a vehicle.
The department played down the video filmed by Nelson: "The video shows only a portion of what took place and a thorough investigation is being conducted to obtain all the facts regarding the incident."
Nelson said at the press conference that police searched Trayvon's backpack, found his Bible, and asked if he read it.
When Trayvon said he did, the cop "smirked and threw the Bible to the ground," Nelson recalled.
The Next Generation Action Network is demanding that Nelson's cell phone be returned to her, the charges be dropped against both boys, and that the officer be investigated and fired.
The police department said in a statement: "As with any allegation of misconduct we take this seriously. This is a formal investigation and will require time to complete and we ask that our investigators are given the opportunity to review all of the evidence."