Viral Video of Black Teens in Handcuffs Is Investigated By Police After False 911 Call

Minnesota Park Police are investigating the validity of a 911 call after a woman posted a video of four black teenage boys in handcuffs, claiming they were victims of racism.

Police were responding to a 911 call at Minnehaha Regional Park around 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, authorities said in a statement released on Wednesday. Officials said the 911 caller claimed that four teens had knives and sticks on them and were attacking her boyfriend. The 911 caller also said one suspect had a gun in his backpack.

When officials arrived at the scene, one park police officer pointed his gun at the four suspects. The four teens, who ranged from the ages of 13 to 16 years old, were all put into handcuffs, and two were placed in the vehicle while the other two were placed in front of the squad car, according to the statement. Authorities said they did not find any weapons or the 911 caller at the scene.

Brianna Lindell, a witness who recorded the aftermath of the incident with her cell phone and posted it on Facebook, said the teens were being harassed by a white male who was shouting racial slurs at them and “aggressing them with a metal trash can lid.” The video only shows two teens in front of the police vehicle.

"An older white kid who was probably 17 was threatening these kids with a knife and coming at them with a garbage can [lid] and calling them the N-word when we passed by earlier," Lindell said in the video. "And the cops come and they are arresting the kids." 

In her Facebook post, Lindell claimed she saw a woman on the phone, who she assumed was the man’s girlfriend. When Lindell’s husband tried to give his shirt to one of the teens who did not have a shirt on, Lindell said the police yelled at the couple for “interfering with an arrest." She asked police why they were arresting the teens, and the police told her “they had received a call that the kids had a gun.”

“We were approached by the people who had been deescalating earlier who told us that both cops had jumped out of their cars, guns already drawn, with the guns right in the children’s faces,” Lindell wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.

The video has gone viral and already has over 2 million views on Facebook. Park Police Chief Jason Ohotto and Superintendent Mary Merrill told WCCO-TV on Wednesday they were reviewing the bodycam footage and have asked for an independent investigation to determine if police were following all procedures accordingly.

“I think the details of the 911 call describing knives and guns are what we need to investigate and get to the bottom of,” Ohotto told the news station.

Three of the teens were released to their parents on Tuesday night, authorities said. One teen, who is a runaway, was brought to a Juvenile Supervision Center and was released.

The Park Police have said they will continue to investigate the validity of the 911 call. Any witnesses who were at the scene and have not provided statements to Park Police are encouraged to call 612-230-6550 and ask to speak with Lieutenant Swanson.

A similar incident gained attention on Friday after a video posted to social media showed a police officer from El Paso, Texas, pointing a gun at children and detained the person recording the video. The El Paso Police Department is currently investigating the matter but noted the officer has been with the department for several years, the El Paso Times reported

57223519-594x594 A police officer keeps watch outside outside the Woodside Hospice Center on March 31, 2006 in Pinellas Park, Florida. Minnesota Park Police are investigating the validity of a 911 call they received which led to them handcuffing four black teenagers. Tim Boyles/Getty Images

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