Police in Georgia are investigating reports that officers pulled a gun on African-American children who were building a tree house in their neighborhood.
Omari Grant, 11, told WSB-TV that he and several friends were behind his home constructing the tree fort when a neighbor called 911 with concerns’ about the children’s safety.
“There were falling hazards, tripping hazards, all types of hazards, so No. 1 was concern for the children and concern for the environment,” Edgar Dillard, whose wife made the 911 call, explained.
And the Henry County police officers who showed up took the call so seriously that they were prepared to use deadly force.
“I guess the release of tension was like, ‘Mom, he had a gun in my face, Mommy. Mommy, he had a gun in my face,’” Omari’s mother, Janice Baptiste, said. “So my son was of course traumatized by that.”
Omari recalled what happened: “I was thinking that I don’t want to be shot today, so I just listened to what they said.”
After using foul language, the officer ordered the children to get on the ground, Omari said.
“I learned that they’re supposed to help you not make you feel scared to even come outside,” the 11-year-old explained.
Henry County Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Joey Smith said that the department began investigating after Omari’s mother filed a complaint about excessive use of force.
“If it was justified then we’ll deal with it, if it wasn’t we’ll address it as well,” Smith insisted.
Watch the video below from WSB-TV, broadcast April 1, 2014.