GRPD’s arrest of 12-year-old draws community backlash

Posted at 5:38 PM, Jun 17, 2019

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The residents of a Grand Rapids neighborhood are upset with police after a 12-year-old boy was arrested over the weekend.

The incident happened Friday night in the city’s Baxter neighborhood. Police say officers were in the area responding to a report of a large fight when they saw the boy chasing after someone with a wooden pole.

Police said he didn’t respond to an officer’s commands to stop, eventually leading to the boy being put in handcuffs after he fell.

Grand Rapids police released a statement on the officers' actions on Monday, but the boy, his mother and neighbors say police overreacted to a boy running with a stick.

"I didn't know cops were chasing me at the time because I was too busy chasing my cousin,” said Carreion Baker, who was arrested.

Carreion says he didn’t realize what was happening until he fell and was surrounded by officers.

"That's when they jumped on me and handcuffed me, and then they put me in the car over there,” he said.

In the commotion, he says he kicked an officer.

Carreion’s mother, Bernice Jones, said police overreacted to the situation.

"My son was playing with one of his cousins, ya know, chasing him down the street like he always do,” Jones said. “They started chasing my son. I'm telling, 'Wait. Hold on. That's his cousin. He's playing.’ Ya know, 'He's only 12.’"

Police said the handcuffs were taken off when Carreion was put in the back of the police cruiser, but neighbor Ted Jauw said the situation shouldn’t have escalated to that point to start with.

"The biggest thing was nobody was de-escalating,” Jauw said.

Jauw voiced his frustrations in a Facebook post that received a lot of attention over the weekend.

On Monday, the department responded with a post of its own defending the officers' actions.

Grand Rapids police declined an interview on the incident.

Police say Carreion is facing charges of resisting and obstructing an officer and disorderly fighting.

For the entire Grand Rapids police statement click here.