Thursday, July 23, 2009

Police accused of profiling in mistaken identity arrest of youth

Sebastopol, California (AP) - St. Paul police officials are defending themselves against charges of profiling following the arrest of a juvenile at a Little League facility.

Police Chief Jeffrey Weaver said officers acted appropriately in responding to reports of a break-in at the downtown facility. However, attorneys for the juvenile said the police overreacted and used profiling tactics, citing the youth's clothing, including the gang colors similar to the Latin Kings gang, as well as the sideways wearing of his cap.

Juvenile arrested in "misunderstanding" accuses police of profiling
The youth told reporters the door to the local Little League equipment room had jammed, and he was forcing the door open to inventory team equipment when police arrived.

He says he told the police he was both the pitcher for his team, as well as team manager, but police were skeptical. The youth said that police identified him as a gang member, based solely on his clothing.

Police say the youth, the son of a local barber, was belligerent and at first refused to show identification. After he provided proof of his claims, he continued to berate police and became disorderly, according to the arrest report.

Another juvenile, who plays right field on the arrested youth's team, was vocal to reporters that the boy was at fault. "That blockhead! He's always messing things up on the baseball field, so it doesn't surprise me that he is causing trouble away from the field," the girl said.

The youth's attorney called the girl's claims motivated by jealousy, adding "Wa wah, wa wah wah. Wa wah wa wa wah. Wah wa wah."

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