On the night of Sept. 19, Damieon Flowers was ready to relax and catch an Eagles game. Then he saw a white police officer stopping three young black boys on a street in Wilmington, Del. and questioning them.
Damieon Flowers got steaming mad and called him and the other cops out. He also got out his cellphone and live streamed it on Facebook. When the Silicon Valley behemoth rolled out that feature back in September, this likely wasn’t what they had in mind.
“Come on man, time to let ’em go, man,” Flowers shouted at the cops.
“Come ON. You don’t need to do that, man. What he got, five felonies?”
The kids, who’d been riding their bikes, politely gave the police officers their names, dates of birth, and other information as Damieon Flowers angrily muttered:
“Shit man. This shit enrages me, man […] I’m going to video this shit.”
After telling the cops, “Yo, man. They didn’t do nothing,” he informs the children of their legal rights.
“Many, you didn’t do nothing, you don’t got to say nothing ’till your mom comes. That’s your right. You don’t got to say nothing.”
Damieon Flowers may not be a lawyer, but his advice is correct, according to an information sheet from the Pacer Center.
Minors should give out their name, address, and age, but anything else a child tells a police officer can (and likely will) be used against them in court. They should also specifically ask whether they’re under arrest, and request the presence of a parent or other adult who knows them before any further questioning takes place. Although the Pacer Center serves families whose children have disabilities, this is solid legal advice for all minors when questioned by police.
It’s sad that black parents should have to worry about their kids getting arrested, hauled into court, and thrown into prison, but such is the reality in America.
When the police officers continued asking the boys questions, Damieon Flowers demanded:
“Come on, man, for real…They didn’t do nothing. Let ’em go. Damn, man, let ’em go. They ain’t do nothing, they’re babies, man.”
An exasperated cop turned around and responded:
“Who said that they did anything? Did we run ’em yet? Do you know what’s going on, sir?”
He then tried to defend his actions by explaining that neighbors had reported “serious problems” in the area that involved “juveniles.”
But Damieon Flowers wasn’t buying that. Or perhaps he didn’t understand what the cop meant by the word “juveniles.”
“Alright, then you catch the perpetrator, you leave them children alone. […] If you catch somebody in the act, then you do that shit. For real. Leave them little boys alone, man. Get in your car and go. Leave them the fuck alone man. For real.
As the frustrated police officers got into their car to drive away, Flowers gave them a swift, verbal kick in the rear.
“And, you’re online. Get the fuck out of here.”
Watch: Damieon Flowers streams video while calling out Wilmington cops for questioning young black children.
The video went viral with 3.6 million views at the time of this writing. Flowers later expressed amazement on his Facebook page via Instagram and told his friends and followers that he just wanted to watch an Eagles game, not watch children get harassed by cops.
Shelley Whistler saw the video and posted a screenshot with an exchange posted to the Wilmington Dept. of Police’s Facebook page. She asked them:
Why doesn’t the Wilmington Police Department want people to see how they really treat small black children? Why do you keep deleting my comment? Look up Damieon Flowers facebook page. There is a video from Sept. 19.
And they responded:
Because your comment is inappropriate and not related to this post, nor is your accusation of racism remotely accurate. We’ve seen your comments. We’ve seen the video. Please move on.
And perhaps they genuinely believe that stopping those black children and questioning them the way they did was totally-not-racist. But the fact remains: We rarely hear about white children being treated that way and questioned without a parent or other caregiver present.
Here’s Winter’s screenshot with her conversation with Wilmington’s finest about Damieon Flowers’ video.
Featured image: Video screengrab by Damieon Flowers via Facebook.
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