SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA) — There was outrage Monday after video posted to social media showed three Black teenagers being detained at gunpoint by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies in the Santa Clarita Valley after they were attacked by a man with a knife.
The video was posted Saturday on Instagram by Tammi Collins, the mother of one of the teens. The video shows at least three sheriff’s department patrol units at the scene, with one deputy arriving and rushing out to point a rifle at the teens.
Collins says her son and his friends were sitting at a bus stop when they were attacked by a homeless man who asked them for drugs, then pulled a knife on them. Deputies were called to the scene by bystanders, including the manager of a nearby restaurant, to get help for the boys, all of whom are Black.
“The response was overboard and too aggressive,” Derrick Gray, the father of one of the teens, said.
With at least two guns pointed at them, each of the teens obeyed deputy commands to back toward them with their hands raised and were handcuffed.
Several angry voices are heard in the video, saying the boys didn’t do anything to be detained and that they were being handcuffed just because they are Black.
“I was thinking to myself, ‘Thank God my boy didn’t flinch, or whatever, scratch or whatever,'” Lisa Gray said of her son. “Because I felt like all he needed to see was for them to move an inch.”
The video has drawn criticism from the community including Kayla Fisher who is friends with one of the boys and said LASD deputies pulled guns on her brother about a year ago.
“He’s such an open and outgoing person,” she said. “And to see him go from that to just like terrified – it’s sad.”
My statement regarding the recent video involving a call for service in Santa Clarita. The matter is being investigated & we will provide updates as they become available. pic.twitter.com/yu1ZCXtVKz
— Alex Villanueva (@LACoSheriff) August 10, 2020
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he has seen the video and has concerns about the tactics employed, and says the matter is currently being investigated.
Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth released a statement Monday, which read in part:
“We have spoken to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and we are aware that a full investigation is underway regarding the level of response by the deputies. We have asked that the review be expedited and any necessary actions be taken. In addition, we have asked that the deputy be removed from the field pending the outcome of the investigation.”