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Cops Draw Guns on Black Teens Who Called for Help

Incident in Santa Clarita, California, under investigation
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2020 4:54 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is investigating an incident last week in which three teens, two of whom are Black, called 911 to report an attack—and ended up getting guns drawn on them by the deputies who responded. The teens were sitting at a Santa Clarita bus stop Friday when a man pulled a knife after he asked if they had any crack and they told him to leave them alone. The teens used their skateboards to ward off his knife thrusts, and multiple people called 911. Video of the incident shows at least three deputies approaching the bus stop with guns drawn, pointed at the teens, who were handcuffed and placed into the police cars. They were released after about 30 minutes with no charges, the Los Angeles Times reports. A lawyer for their families is considering legal action, and the city's mayor has called for the deputy involved to be removed from duty until the investigation is complete.

"During all of this time, you have bystanders telling them that, in fact, the teens are the victims," says the lawyer representing one of the families. "And the deputies don’t seem to be quite so responsive." People can, in fact, be heard on the video telling the deputies just that, including one manager of a nearby business who tells them she was one of the 911 callers who explained that a man with a knife had been chasing the teens. The deputies claim they got a call about someone being assaulted with a skateboard, and they're detaining the teens based on that call. The sheriff has since said in a statement that he has "concerns regarding the tactics employed" and has opened a probe. "Especially after George Floyd, I sat him down and talked to him about how to respond if he was ever approached by police, so he knew exactly what to do," one of the moms tells NBC LA. "How to follow orders, not to say anything, not to do anything out of character. So to see how they treated the boys, it was literally heartbreaking. I couldn't watch the full video." (Read more racism stories.)

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