The D.C. police have launched an internal investigation into a disturbing video showing officers physically detaining a 15-year-old girl and her 10-year-old brother while they were illegally selling food on a Columbia Heights sidewalk Tuesday.
In the video, the two refuse a police officer’s order to stop and they try to wrestle themselves away from the officers who are holding handcuffs. One officer is heard telling the others to put the handcuffs on the girl.
One of the officers holds the girl, while she is dropped to the ground and begins to scream “Don’t pressure me, my knee.” The boy is seen shedding tears while he watched.
During the incident, police keeps threatening to handcuff the girl and take the pair to the Child and Family Services Agency even after their mother arrived there.
“I was scared, and all I asked was for them to leave us alone, for them to stop treating us like criminals,” Genesis Lumes said at a news conference on Wednesday, WUSA9 reported, adding that she was using crutches.
“We are not criminals. We do not go and steal and do all this, be in gangs. We go out, sell atole, tacos, chips, mangos to make a living for ourselves,” she was quoted as saying.
Lumes also claimed that police followed them to Children’s National Hospital, where they were taken to following the scuffle, continuing to threaten to separate the children from their mother.
“We have no place on our force for officers who don’t follow the rules, and that is what we will be investigating, and all appropriate action will be taken,” Mayor Muriel Bowser was quoted as saying about the incident.
The incident is currently being investigated by the D.C. Metro police.