An unidentified white police officer was caught on video slugging Ja'Colby Davis, a 16-year-old black male, April 17 at the annual Earth Day celebration in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (video below).
In the very short video, one officer is on top of Ja'Colby, while a second officer hits the teen repeatedly in the head.
"I feel like this shouldn’t happen to anyone’s child," Danielle Todd, Ja'Colby's mother, told The Rouge Collection. "No parent should have to see a video of police officers beating their child for asking a question."
Todd said that a fight broke out near Ja'Colby and his younger brother, 14, who were told to move away by police. According to the younger boy, the brothers obeyed the cops, but an officer grabbed Ja'Colby to push him back even further.
The younger brother recalled that Ja'Colby asked the officer why he was being pushed, and was subsequently shoved to the ground by the police.
"Obviously it was some type of act of violence toward the officer prior to what was seen in the video," Baton Rouge Police spokesman Sgt. Don Coppola told The Advocate.
According to Coppola, Ja'Colby was charged with battery of a police officer and resisting an officer with violence or force.
Coppola added that the police officers in the video were not wearing body cameras.
"[Ja'Colby] wasn’t fighting at all,” Todd countered.
The police department stated on Facebook April 19:
It has also come to our attention that there was an incident at yesterday’s event involving a young man and one of our officers. While we cannot speak yet to the context in which this incident occurred, we can assure you that we are treating the situation with the utmost care and concern as we initiate an Internal Affairs Investigation.
"Events like LA Earth Day are meant to help our community unite with a shared mission, not to provide opportunities for violence," said BRPD Chief Carl Dabadie, Jr.
"As a department, it is our role to protect and serve our community, and as we investigate yesterday’s events, we intend to ensure that, moving forward, we respond to violent acts by attendees like what we witnessed yesterday responsibly and to the best of our ability."