Syracuse police detain 8-year-old boy over stolen tokens, father says

  • A video showing a young boy moaning as police detained him went viral earlier this week.
  • Syracuse police later said the boy was charged with theft and the incident was under review.
  • The boy’s father said the incident involved a bag of $3 potato chips.

A viral video that showed a young boy in Syracuse, New York, moaning as he was placed in a police cruiser topped a $3 bag of potato chips, according to the boy’s father.

The video, taken and posted by a passerby on Sunday, shows an officer holding the 8-year-old boy’s arms behind his back as he screams, while other young boys can be seen nearby. It is unknown what happened until the video begins, but a bag of what appears to be Cool Ranch Doritos and chips can be seen on the floor. Another bag is in the hands of the officer holding the boy.

The video opens with the viewer asking the police what they are doing.

“Guess. Guess what I’m doing,” replies the officer holding the boy.

“He looks like a baby to me,” the onlooker says, before he and the officers start yelling at each other as the boy is led into the back of the police cruiser. The boy can be heard crying from the car as the passerby continues to engage with the police.

The Syracuse Police Department acknowledged the video in a statement Tuesday, saying the video showed their officers and minors charged with stealing from a store on the north side of town.

“The incident, including the actions of the officers and the body-worn cameras, is under review,” the statement said, adding that misinformation had been shared about the incident and that the boy, who was suspected of theft, was not handcuffed.

The statement added that officers took the boy home and spoke with his father. No charges have been filed.

Police spokesman Lt. Matthew Malinowski confirmed to Insider that the boy was 8 years old and said more information would be released by police and the mayor on Thursday.

The boy’s father, Anthony Weah, told he met with police at his home about the incident. Officers were friendly and told her her sons were charged with stealing chips from a store, Weah said.

It was only later that he saw the video shared online which showed his son crying.

“Why would the police treat this child like this?” Weah said on the way out. “More than a $3 bag of chips.”

Weah told he wants to file a lawsuit for the incident. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

“Police aren’t kids,” Weah said, adding, “They’re not boys, they’re men.”

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