‘Black Boys Matter’ rally puts spotlight on incident where police handcuffed child

Mother says every day since incident has been tough

People in Pittsfield Township rallied to make sure voters remember an incident there that happened back in April. The Black Boys Matter protest was held Tuesday morning outside of the administration building.

PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A “Black Boys Matter” protest was held Tuesday in Pittsfield Township to make sure voters remember an incident that happened in April. The group gathered outside of an administration building.

Law enforcement pointed guns at and handcuffed an 11-year-old boy on April 26 in Ypsilanti Township. The incident was the focus of a lawsuit filed by the boy’s mother.

The dozen or so protesters were loud and clear outside the Pittsfield Township Administration Building. They protested in honor of 11-year-old Benjamin Whitfield.

Body camera video gave a glimpse into what happened after a shooting at the Briarwood Mall. Ann Arbor police believed the vehicle Whitfield and his father were in was involved.

When police tried to initiate a stop, Whitfield’s father led officers on a high-speed chase. The chase ended in an open mall parking lot in front of a Kroger in Ypsilanti Township.

Whitfield’s mother, Markia Dixson, said every day since then has been tough for him.

“It’s been hard. Every time he sees the police he gets scared. I told him that not all of them are bad. I try to talk to him as much as I can about it. He’s to the point now where he doesn’t talk about it with me. He just shuts it down,” Dixson said.

Police said it was unavoidable that guns were drawn. They said they had to treat the child as a shooting suspect.

The family filed a lawsuit against the officer who arrested Whitfield. That lawsuit is going through the court system.