"Would you have put a white child in a cage?" asked LaTonya Eason after her son, Quantavious, was put in the back of a patrol car and taken to the police station.
The mother of a 10-year-old who was arrested for urinating in a parking lot is demanding stronger consequences for the officers involved.
LaTonya Eason’s son Quantavious Eason was arrested by the Senatobia Police Department in Mississippi back in August, after the child reportedly decided to relieve himself near her car while she made a quick stop into a lawyer’s office.
During a press conference with Eason, her son and attorney Carlos Moore last week, Moore said that the child needed to use the bathroom while waiting for his mother. He saw a sign saying there were no public restrooms, however, and “had a decision to make.”
“Do I let my bladder stay full and potentially cause bladder problems or do I relieve myself discreetly on private property?” said the family’s attorney. “He did what so many young boys have done in this city time and time again, he got near his mother’s car with his back facing the public road and he relieved himself.”
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Though Moore said the child was “thinking as a reasonable 10-year-old” when he decided to relieve himself, an officer driving by stopped and went into the lawyer’s office to alert the boy’s mother.
“I said, ‘You know better, don’t let it happen again,'” Eason recalled telling her son after coming out with the officer. “The officer said, ‘You handled that like a mom, just make sure he don’t do it again, he can get back in the car.'”
But then four other officers from the department showed up, said Eason, claiming they then instructed Quantavious to “put his hands behind his back” before putting him into a patrol car and taking him downtown to the station. “My baby was crying,” said LaTonya, who also snapped a photo of the boy in the backseat (above left).
After being taken to the station, Eason claims authorities then “put this boy in a cage for 45-minutes to an hour” while she spoke with officers about an unrelated matter. The boy was later charged in Youth Court with Child in Need of Supervision. Per Moore, the incident happened on private property and “nobody who owns that property has complained to law enforcement” about the boy’s actions.
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After the incident went viral thanks to Eason’s photo of her son, the police department released two statements on what happened. In the first, they said that while “the child was not handcuffed,” they admitted “it was an error in judgment for us to transport the child to the police station” since authorities were able to locate a parent at the scene.
“Mistakes like this are a reminder in this profession as to the continual need for training and refreshers on the various topics that we encounter each day,” they added.
About a week later, Chief of Police Richard Chandler released a second statement saying, “The officer’s decisions violated our written policy and went against our prior training on how to deal with these situations.”
“One of the officers involved is no longer employed, and the others will be disciplined,” they added. “We will also have mandatory Juvenile training department-wide, just as we do every year.”
The statement was unclear as to whether the officer who was “no longer employed” was terminated or able to resign from their post — something for which Eason wants clarification.
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“Not one time to this day have nobody contacted me from Senatobia PD, gave me no explanation, the mayor, the chief, nobody,” she said during last week’s presser. “You haven’t said anything to me. How do I know for sure that somebody has been terminated for that?”
“My son did not deserve it. I would feel the same way if that was somebody else’s child. They don’t deserve that. He’s a kid,” she said. “You don’t put my child in a cage. Would you have put a white child in a cage? If it had been a white child, you know what, he probably wouldn’t have even stopped.”
Added the family’s attorney: “Nothing less than termination is going to be satisfactory.”
According to CNN, the family is asking for the arresting officer’s name to be released, as well as confirmation they were terminated by the department. In addition to an apology and for the charge against Quantavious to be dropped, they also want the police chief and a lieutenant on scene fired.
In the presser, Moore said he plans to file a federal lawsuit if the Senatobia Police Department doesn’t respond. The department has not released any additional statements at this time.
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