An 11-year-old boy says he now fears the police after he was handcuffed after a youth basketball game for “being disrespectful.”
On Saturday, fifth-grader Fatayi Jomoh was shooting hoops after watching a children’s basketball game sponsored by the Police Athletic League at JaxPAL Northside Center in Jacksonville, Fla., when an officer asked him three times to stop bouncing the ball, according to local news station News 4 Jax, which first reported the story.
However, his mother, Bunmi Borisade, says her son, an honor roll student, aspiring engineer, and talented athlete simply didn’t hear the officer in the crowded venue until it was too late. “Fatayi later told me that when he turned to gather his belongings and walk away, the officer said, ‘I know you hear me, boy,’ pushed him to the floor, and put handcuffs on him,” Borisade tells Yahoo Lifestyle, adding that a man later identified as a sergeant reportedly said, “Now you’ll see how it feels to be arrested.”
At the time, the mom of two was in another area of the gym and did not witness the interaction between her son and the police — until a 6-year-old girl approached. “She said, ‘Excuse me, the police have your son. They put handcuffs on him for dribbling a ball.’ I said, ‘You can’t be serious.'”
Borisade rushed outside, where Fatayi was being held, and saw her crying son surrounded by people. When she asked the officer what had happened, he reportedly said, “He was being disrespectful.” The mom says she asked the officer why she wasn’t contacted before the situation escalated, and she was told, “There’s a sign here that says parents need to stay with their kids.”
“I told Fatayi, ‘This is why you stick by my side — these officers don’t care about your life. Look at how quickly they wanted to take you away,'” Borisade tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Her son ultimately was not arrested and was released back into her care.
Representatives from the Police Athletic League and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office did not return Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment. However, a spokesperson from the sheriff’s office told News 4 Jax that a complaint made by Borisade is being reviewed by its Internal Affairs office.
Borisade described her son as a mild-mannered boy with a love of coding who has played in the police-sponsored games for the past three years. “I wish the officers had given him a chance,” she says. “He’s very hurt by it.”
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