A Newark mom whose 10-year-old son was chased and cornered by armed cops in a terrifying case of mistaken identity says an apology isn’t enough — she wants reform.
Nearly two weeks after Legend Preston’s run-in with a tactical team chasing an armed robbery suspect, his mother, Patisha Solomon remains horrified over what could have happened.
“When I think about my child staring at the end of a gun,” Solomon, 30, told the Daily News.
“One wrong move, and my child wouldn’t be here right now. My son could have tripped.
He could have reached for a toy. They could have done anything to my son and it could have been his fault.”
Legend was simply retrieving a ball from the street near a garage on Stuyvesant Avenue where he was playing basketball with some other boys when he saw armed cops bearing down on him like his face was on a wanted poster, his mother said.
Legend, according to his family, did what any right-minded, city-raised kid would do under the circumstances — he ran.
“I was scared for my life,” Legend told the News. “I was thinking that they were going to shoot me.”
He was soon surrounded by neighbours and friends who shielded him from the blundering cops.
“This is a child!” they screamed.
“He matches the description,” the cops countered, according to Legend’s mother, who shared her version of events from the Aug. 11 incident in a viral Facebook post that featured video of the boy shaking and crying.
Here’s the guy they were actually looking for, whose description this 10 year-old “matches”:
Cops got their man — 20-year-old Casey Joseph Robinson — but not before walking off without an apology to Legend or his mom.
Robinson — who wears dreadlocks and sports facial hair — was captured on the next block. He was charged with armed robbery, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
“I was yelling at the police,” Solomon said. “Then one of the officers very smugly said, `You want to make a report, go to 32 Green St.’ and kept walking,” she said, a reference to the city’s municipal building. “I wanted to go off. I really did.”
Instead, she turned her attention to her traumatised son, and, and before her cell phone’s battery died, recorded his reaction, which she posted on social media for her outraged friends and followers.
“I knew I had to get some type of documentation,” Solomon said. “With these police we have to have our batteries fully charged because you never know what’s going on.”
Solomon said she and her son have followed news about the Black Lives Matter movement, and insisted that she never wanted to be an activist.
“What option have they given me but to speak out,” Solomon said. “I didn’t ask for any of this. My prime concern is not an apology. My concern is reform of this system. I want to see accountability and responsibility.”
A police department spokeswoman referred questions about the incident to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, which is investigating the incident.
A police spokesman told WABC news, which first reported the story, that responding officers did have their guns drawn but said they never aimed the weapons at Legend.
What’s amazing is not only that this child looks nothing like the actual suspect, but also the fact that Police felt the need to draw their guns on an unarmed 10 year-old. The lack of self-confidence that they could subdue THIS particular “criminal”. Is there ANYONE that the Police believe they can overpower WITHOUT using their guns? This should cast great doubts over the training that POs receive and their own confidence in that training. Not to mention their mental ability to match descriptions to people.