What were cops to do? Syracuse police under fire for bringing child shoplifter, 8, home to his father

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The following editorial is written by a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today. 

SYRACUSE, NY- Let’s face it. Police simply cannot win. Put in the position of being disciplinarians due to the failure of parents to do so, police officers are placed in the untenable position of sometimes having to fill in the gaps.

A viral video (of course) from Syracuse, New York is causing a lot of hand-wringing and criticism of the police after they were seen taking an eight-year-old who had stolen a bag of Doritos from a store and walking him to a police cruiser. That has called much consternation among the unsworn detectives who populate social media platforms such as Twitter.

According to Syracuse.com, the video showed a police officer holding the boy from behind and walking him to a marked police vehicle. According to Syracuse police, the boy was never handcuffed and his father admitted to reporters that there wasn’t a mark on him.

That mattered not to the Twitterverse, where people such as former Buffalo Bills player Thurman Thomas and former Syracuse University basketball bouncer Etan Thomas weighed in.

Of course, the fact that the three officers who responded to the complaint were white and the child were black only further inflamed the situation, and led of course to allegations of “racial injustice” by the Syracuse officers. The question becomes, what were the police supposed to do?

By all intents and purposes, the police responded to the call, found the “suspect” who took the chips, and since he was eight-years-old, took the child home for his father to deal with. Of course instead of thanking the police for merely bringing his son home and not, for example, taking him to the police station, the father, Anthony Weah instead plans on filing a complaint with the police department.

What exactly Weah plans on complaining about is unknown. He himself admitted that the police officers were friendly, did not press charges against his son or make them pay for chips. It apparently wasn’t until he saw the video on social media that he decided to take advantage of the vast legal knowledge of the morons who populate Twitter and Facebook.

In the video, which the outlet reports was viewed by 2,000 people on Facebook and 1.3 million Twitterbots, bystanders are yelling at the police to let the child go.

“Why would the police treat that child like that?” Weah asked after viewing the video. “Over a $3 bag of chips.”

What Mr. Weah fails to realize is that today it may be a $3 bag of chips. Down the road, it may be breaking into a home and stealing property, or robbing that same store at gunpoint. Whether you like the fact that the police officers took the child into custody and drove him home or not, they were doing their jobs.

A number of Twitter detectives claimed the police “overreacted.” That begs the question…what were the police officers, called to deal with a reported shoplifting, to do?

One person with an official Twitter police badge queried, “Gee, why don’t black people trust the police?”

To his credit, Weah actually admitted that his son was wrong. Coming from Ethiopia, where we’re fairly certain his son may have faced much harsher punishment, including perhaps the loss of his hand, Weah should have been grateful that the police took his son and brought him home. Not quite.

“The policeman, they are not children,” Weah said. “They are not boys, they’re men.”

Well yeah, that’s generally how it works. Most police officers we know are all adults.

Weah credited the busybody who started recording the police, Kenneth Jackson, for documenting the incident.

“He was standing up for them,” Weah said.

Correct, standing up for a youngster who was stealing.

Jackson claimed he initially didn’t realize police were detaining a kid.

“He got snatched off that bike. The bike hit the ground and chips went everywhere.”

This was when Jackson decided to insert himself in the incident, asking police what they were doing. To their credit, the police basically told him it was none of his business, which it wasn’t.

The situation escalated as these incidents are wont to do, and led to a shouting match between the police and some in the crowd which had gathered. Jackson offered to pay for the chips. One officer asked Jackson if, in light of a spate of shoplifting and vandalism incidents in the area, if he wanted to go around the community paying for stolen merchandise.

Jackson called the incident “traumatizing” for the boy, and claimed it should have been handled differently. Typically, he did not offer specifics as to how that might have been accomplished. The police were called, they responded, they identified the suspect, realized it was a young child and took him home.

Was responding three officers overkill? Perhaps. But without knowing the specifics of the response (one could have been a training officer or FTO with his trainee, plus a backup) while appearances might look bad, it may in fact have been a perfectly normal response.

The Syracuse Police Department is currently reviewing the response, including video from body cameras worn by responding officers.

It should be noted that according to the mayor of Syracuse, the boy is “known” to police from prior incidents. How sad is it that an 8-year-0ld child is “known” to police due to prior criminal incidents?

As is typical in these cases, people watch videos without context and then make a decision about the “impropriety” of an incident without having all the facts. It is appropriate to wait until all information is released, in this case including body camera video, to give a complete and accurate accounting of the incident.

The Twitter mob thinks their Twitter Law School certificate may make them police and criminal justice experts but in fact, it just makes them hysterical and uninformed.

What were cops to do? Syracuse police under fire for bringing child shoplifter, 8, home to his father

Police intervention with an 8-year-old may indeed seem to be “overkill,” however with the explosion in juvenile crime over the past several years, the importance of early police intervention (along with supportive parents) is vital. For more on the teenage crime explosion, we invite you to:

DIG DEEPER

NEW BRITAIN, CT- Connecticut, like much of the country, has been suffering an epidemic of treen crime recently, in particular crimes involving burglaries to automobiles and auto thefts.

Law Enforcement Today reported this week on two juveniles who broke into and ransacked the Wolcott (CT) Senior Center earlier this week.

Now, the teen crime wave has turned deadly, after a jogger was struck and killed by a teen driving a stolen car in New Britain, CT. Tuesday night, police tell Fox 61 in Hartford.

Police told local media that an Audi stolen out of Hartford struck the victim, a 53-year-old man who was running on a sidewalk. The man, whom police have not yet identified, was transported to the hospital with life threatening injuries, which he later succumbed to. Fox 61 reported the victim was thrown some 100 feet from the impact.

The incident began when a man at a gas station in the nearby town of Plainville called police to report his wallet stolen from his car while at a gas station at Main Street in that town.

The victim followed the suspects, which police requested he not do. However, he continued to follow the vehicle, causing the suspects to speed up, with them eventually losing control of the vehicle and striking the unsuspecting jogger.

New Britain police said the suspect vehicle had been involved in a flurry of criminal incidents.

After the vehicle crashed into a fence, the two suspects, one who appeared to be a light-colored male and the other a dark-colored male fled the scene.

Police say the driver, whose name was not released due to his age, has been charged with assault in the first degree, reckless driving, and first-degree larceny by possession. He will likely be facing upgraded charges due to the death of the jogger.

According to law enforcement officials, the offender is a frequent flyer, having been arrested 13 times in the past 3 ½ years for crimes ranging from assault with a knife to reckless driving.

Some officials in Connecticut have had it with the inept criminal justice system in the state, in particular New Britain’s mayor.

In a tweet Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Erin Stewart slammed the juvenile justice system in the state.

“And this is why. Exactly why,” Stewart tweeted. “Somebody’s life could’ve been saved but this was a complete failure of the Connecticut juvenile justice system, if you can say there even is one.”

A neighbor shared what can only be described as stunning surveillance video that recorded the moment the innocent jogger was struck.

One resident of the city, Melody Carter was shaken by the incident, realizing it could have been her son on that sidewalk.

“It just makes me uneasy know, just knowing that right there, that could have been my son walking my dog,” she told WFSB-3 in Hartford.

WFSB noted that after police identified the suspect, they went to his home in New Britain, where he was found hiding in a closet.

New Britain police are asking anyone with further information to call that agency at 860-826-3131.

Late on Wednesday, WFSB reported the second suspect has been identified by New Britain police, however no further information was available. The outlet said that no charges had yet been filed against the second suspect, believed to be a juvenile as well.

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Law Enforcement Today recently reported on the incident involving juvenile offenders from Washington, DC., where a Uber Eats driver was carjacked and killed by juveniles. For more on that, we invite you to:

DIG DEEPER

WASHINGTON, D.C.– According to reports, the 15-year-old girl who carjacked an Uber driver with another teenage girl, leaving the driver dead, will be held in a youth detention facility until she turns 21-years-old.

On Friday, June 11th, the girl received the maximum juvenile sentence after pleading guilty in May to felony murder in the death of Mohammad Anwar, a Virginia man who was working as a delivery driver.

The second suspect, a 13-year-old girl, also pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Under the maximum sentence, she will also be released from juvenile detention once she turns 21-years-old. During the virtual court hearing on Friday, June 11th, Anwar’s family made some powerful statements before the teen was sentenced.

The family spoke about the sadness of spending Ramadan and Eid without Anwar, and how they are still struggling with what to tell their loved ones in the U.S. and in Pakistan. Anwar’s daughter Qandeel Anwar said:

“Abu used to call his grandkids at least twice a day and I have no idea what to tell them now when they ask where is their Dada Abu. How do I tell them what a murder is? How do I console my mother who sits silently all day since March 23rd?”

She simmered with fury as she addressed the girl directly. She said:

“I can never and will never forgive you for the pain you caused him.”

Anwar’s sister, Nargis Akbar, asked for the harshest possible sentence. She said:

“No amount of years they spend in a detention center can make up for even one percent of the pain my brother went through.”

Anwar’s niece, Maham Akbar said:

“Any sentence you receive today will not bring my uncle back. While you may not have seen value in his life in those moments, we do see value in yours. Your life is valuable. We hope you will learn from this and choose to go on and do great things and be a productive member of society.”

Reportedly, the teenage girl was emotional during the family’s statements. When it was her turn to speak, she apologized and said she had not meant to kill Anwar. Regardless, the judge called the crime unspeakable and issued the maximum sentence.

His family called the crime senseless and said:

“He was a hardworking immigrant who came to the U.S. in 2014 to build a better life for himself and his family. The loss for his family is immeasurable.”

According to prosecutors, Anwar had shown the girls nothing but kindness on March 23rd, event as they plotted to steal his car. He agreed to give the girls a ride in his Honda Accord, but when they got to a side street near the ballpark, the girls tried to take his car and his belongings.

Prosecutors said that the younger girl stayed in the passenger seat while the 15-year-old climbed into the driver’s seat. Anwar reportedly pleaded with passerby’s for help and asked them to call the police, but the older girl lied to the witness, telling them it was her mother’s car.

Anwar blocked the older girl from closing the driver’s door, but was half-in and half-out of the car as one of the girls screamed, “go, go, go!” and jammed the car into gear. A gruesome video shows the Accord racing down the street with the driver’s door flapping open and Awar hanging on.

The door slams into a tree and crushes him, then the car continues speeding down the street until the older girl makes a sharp right and the car flips over, throwing Anwar to the pavement and killing him.

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

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Teenage girls who murdered Uber Eats driver during carjacking reportedly getting plea deal

April 3rd, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C.– The 13-year-old and 15-year-old girls who murdered an Uber Eats driver during a carjacking in D.C. are reportedly getting a plea deal.

According to reports, the Washington Post, which sat-in on the virtual hearing for the two juveniles on Wednesday, March 31st, said that the prosecutor had told the judge they were expecting to give attorneys plea bargain offers in the coming days.

The victim, 66-year-old Mohammad Anwar of Springfield, Virginia, was driving for Uber Eats when the girls attempted to steal his car and tased him. The horrific scene was caught on camera by a witness.

https://twitter.com/Mrtdogg/status/1375721912752611328

Many people believe the girls should be charged as adults, but the prosecutor plans to offer the girls a plea bargain instead. D.C. Criminal Defense Attorney Nikki Lotze, with Lotze and Mosley, LLP, explained more about the circumstances around juvenile cases.

In explaining that District laws around juveniles are very different and operate under the presumption that a juvenile can be rehabilitated in ways the adult system may not be set up to support.

She added:

“In all kinds of way in D.C. at least, juveniles are treated differently.”

Reportedly, D.C. law prohibits a 13-year-old from being tried as an adult. At 15-years-0ld, the D.C. Attorney General’s Office could petition for a case to be transferred to the adult court system. Court sources told FOX 5 that that usually happens during the first hearing.

However, the Post reported that there was no indication that the prosecutor was planning to do so following the second hearing. Lotze said:

“How old that juvenile is, whether they’ve been juvenilely adjudicated previously. Whether they’ve, whether there’s a gun used in this case. In this case there’s no firearm, it was a stun gun.”

She added:

“So, there’s lots of determinations. There’s lots of factors to be considered for the Attorney General and then the judge to make the decision that a person is better charged as an adult than a juvenile.”

The teen’s have reportedly pled the juvenile version of “not guilty.” Lotze stated:

“If you were to reach a plea agreement, then the juvenile would admit involvement.”

Lotze added that the agreement could include:

“Potentially being a youth shelter involvement, which is similar to jail, but for juveniles. Or could involve being on home detention or being on probation.”

A witness told NBC Washington that she could not believe what she was seeing at first. D.C. resident Pamela Johnson said:

“I saw all the police cars first. Then I saw the car and I thought, ‘This must be a movie scene or something.'”

D.C. Police Commander Ramey Kyle told FOX 5 that they are also investigating one of the suspect’s involvement in another carjacking that happened in January. In a Zoom interview, the Commander said that an arrest has been made.

FOX 5 confirmed through sources that this involved the younger suspect, who may have been involved in more than one previous crime. Both girls’ names have been withheld due to their ages.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Anwar’s family. So far, over $1 million has been raised. The page read, in part:

“Anwar was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and friend who always provided a smile when you needed one. He leaves behind a family, near and far, who cherish, love and miss him dearly.”

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