Mother suing Pittsfield Township police over handcuffing her 11-year-old son

Body cam video of incident released

Mother suing Pittsfield Township police over handcuffing her 11-year-old son

YPSILANTI TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The moments after a police chase on April 26 in Ypsilanti Township have become the center of a lawsuit by the family of an 11-year-old boy.

That boy had guns pointed at him and was also handcuffed for a few moments.

One thing you need to know before seeing this is what happened just before. There had been a shooting at the Briarwood Mall and Ann Arbor police were looking for a suspect’s vehicle.

They found one and tried to pull it over. But that led to a high speed chase which hit speeds of more than 100 mph on the freeway and ended in an open mall parking lot in front of the Kroger in Ypsilanti Township.

There is body cam video from Pittsfield Township police who were assisting.

“Lay down. Lay down. Put the phone down,” a police officer can be heard saying.

Those commands are for the boy who had just exited a vehicle involved in a police chase. Pittsfield Township police say the officer’s guns were drawn but they holstered them as soon as they realized the boy was not a threat.

“It was terrifying for him,” said the boy’s mother, Marquis Dixon.

Here is why she believes it happened.

“Because he’s Black,” said Dixon.

Police then handcuffed the boy for about a minute and 40 seconds.

“I was furious already for handcuffs, but when I had seen the video it broke my heart. I burst out crying and, like, it tore me apart,” said Dixon.

The Pittsfield Township police chief told Local 4 News he feels bad the boy was put in that situation, but it was unavoidable that guns were drawn initially because they had to treat the boy as a shooting suspect. Then things de-escalated as quickly as they could.

“Why would he have a gun? He had his phone in his hand. If you can see it in the video, why would you put handcuffs on an 11-year-old, and I understand what the dad did was wrong, but that doesn’t justify what they did to my kid,” said Dixon.

What you don’t see on the tape is officers allowing him to call his mother. They also got him something to drink.

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About the Authors:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.