Sacramento police release body cam video of controversial arrest of 12-year-old boy

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGO) -- Sacramento Police are defending their actions in the latest alleged case of excessive force, this one involving the controversial arrest of a 12-year-old boy.

On Wednesday the department released officer body camera video from the April 28 incident that shows the combative boy struggling and apparently spitting on one of the officers.

Police say they spotted the boy running away from a private security guard and helped detain him last month. The video shows officers working to calm the boy, who repeatedly curses and shouts that he can't breathe.

Officers were confronted by bystanders who videotaped the encounter while objecting that the boy was being detained.

(WARNING: The below video is the raw unedited arrest video. It features adult language and strong video. Viewer discretion is advised)

In the video police can be seen placing a mesh "spit mask" on the 12-year-old boy while he repeatedly curses and threatens the officers.

Police Chief Daniel Hahn says officers used the mask to protect themselves.

"I am grateful that our officers were willing to proactively intervene when they observed suspicious activity, and that nobody was injured during this encounter," wrote Chief Hahn in a statement.

The boy was later released to his mother and cited for battery against an officer and resisting police.

Witness video of this arrest was posted, May 7 on Sacramento's 'Black Lives Matter' Facebook page and quickly went viral and drew strong condemnation from many people in the community.

"We will not tolerate our community, particularly our young people, being treated in the way this young man was treated," said the attorney for the boy's family, Mark Harris in a Youtube video.

Harris says his client was just enjoying a nearby neighborhood carnival when he accosted and chased down by the security guard.

"We want to make sure that the greater Sacramento community, the state of California, and the world are aware of what happened to this young man."

Harris, a civil rights attorney, also represents the family of Stephon Clark, the unarmed 22-year-old black man who was shot to death by Sacramento Police in 2018.

RELATED: 2 Sacramento police officers who shot Stephon Clark won't face charges

That deadly shooting led to multiple protests and intense criticism of the Sacramento Police Department.

In March of 2019, it was announced that the officers who shot and killed Clark would not face charges for their role in the deadly shooting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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