Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies were seen on video pointing guns at and detaining Black teenagers who witnesses say were the victims of a knife attack in Santa Clarita that had initially prompted the 911 calls.
Video shows two deputies pointing guns at three teenagers, two of them Black, near a bus stop Friday before a third deputy runs out from another patrol car with a long gun and points it at the boys as bystanders yell, “it was the other guy” and “it’s not them.”
He keeps his firearm aimed at the boys and tells the bystanders to back up.
“Put your guns down, they’re kids,” one woman is heard telling the deputy as another woman yells to the boys to keep their hands up.
A woman then identifies herself a manager at a nearby Buffalo Wild Wings, saying she was the one who placed the 911 call and “it was not them.” She explains that the boys were the ones being chased by a man with a knife.
“I told your sergeant who was the problem and what was going on,” she says. “For you guys to act this way…”
One of the teenagers is then directed to get on his knees and is handcuffed as emotional bystanders yell at deputies and sirens wail in the background.
“There was a man chasing people and you guys are here,” the manager tells deputies. “Do you understand what this looks like?”
A deputy then says that they’re responding to a different call for service.
“We’re on another call for service where someone was hit with a skateboard. These three gentlemen were described in the call for service… it’s assault with a deadly weapon, that’s what we have,” he says.
Deputies were seen carrying two skateboards into a patrol car as others spoke with the witnesses.
The video, which was shared online by Tammi Collins, one of the boy’s mothers, garnered more than 117,700 views by Monday.
Collins says her son and his friends were approached by a man who asked them for drugs then became aggressive, pulled out a knife and tried to stab them while two of the boys raised their skateboards up to take cover.
It’s unclear whether the man in question was found and detained.
Robert Brown, a civil rights attorney representing Collins and her son, told the Los Angeles Times that the boys were held in the squad cars for about 30 minutes and then released with no charges.
“This is something my son and his friends will never forget,” the mother wrote online.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva on Monday released a video statement saying, “I have concerns regarding the tactics employed.” The sheriff said the matter is under investigation.
The encounter drew outrage among community members and led to a small protest in Santa Clarita Monday.
Demonstrators held up signs saying, “Black Lives Matter,” “Being Black is not criminal behavior,” and “If I call 9-1-1 SCV sheriffs will you.. help or shoot.”
“What is happening is wrong and our kids are unsafe, including myself,” Santa Clarita resident Bre Tomey said at the protest.
Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth said the city has asked for an expedited review of the incident and he has called for a deputy involved to be removed from the field until the investigation is complete.