Bediako: Policeman choked, punched, kicked my son

Educator says she was told to get out of 4th Precinct Station when she tried to make a complaint.

The worst nightmare for every mother who has a Black son is that her child will have an altercation with the police. Educator says she was told to get out of 4th Precinct Station when she tried to make a complaint.

The worst nightmare for every mother who has a Black son is that her child will have an altercation with the police. This terrifying experience happened for my son Friday, May 30 while he was in North Minneapolis.

My son is a 14-year-old who takes great pride in the way he dresses. On Friday, he wore white shorts, a blue shirt and blue do rag covered by a white visor, and blue tennis shoes. He is graduating from eighth grade and has passed the Minnesota Basic Standards Test, Math, and Reading. He does not do drugs and is not in a gang. He has aspirations to be an airline pilot. He loves sports, math and playing chess.

As my son and his friend were leaving the corner store on Penn and Golden Valley Road, they were greeted at the door by a police officer on a bicycle. Two other Black male youth were walking outside the store behind my son and his friend. The officer told all four boys to put their hands up against the wall.

From the time my son was 10-years-old, I have had to unfortunately teach him that he does not have the same rights as other citizens because he is a Black male. I have told him that if the police ever stop him, to say as little as possible, do what they tell him to do and to never, ever talk back to them. There are too many horror stories where Black male youth have come up dead, missing, or extremely hurt by one wrong word to the police.

As the officer tells my son and the other boys to hold up the wall with their hands, the White male police officer comes up to my son and commands him to pull out his wallet. As he reaches for his pocket to find his wallet, the officer punches him in the face, grabs both of his arms with one hand, grabs him by the neck with his other hand, and begins to choke my son.

Quickly and fiercely, the officer throws him to the ground. Then the officer begins to kick my son in the stomach and legs. He took his fist and punched him in his face several times. The police officer took out his handcuffs and cuffed him so tightly that scars were left on his wrists.

The “protector of the community” grabs my son’s wallet out of his pocket and slaps him in the face with it.

The officer proceeds to make a bizarre statement to my son, “Why aren’t you following my instructions?”

My son responds, “Sorry sir, I was getting my wallet out like you told me.”

“No, I didn’t,” snorted the officer, “It makes me very angry when people don’t follow my instructions.”

The police officer began going through my son’s pocket and then he takes off my son’s shoes, looking for drugs. He tells my 14-year-old, “I’ve seen you before, and I know you have drugs.” He phones in my son’s name to the central office to verify the police record that this Black boy must have because this officer “knew” him.

“Why are you here?” the officer demanded to know from my son.

My son replied, “My friend and I were buying candy from the store.”

“Where do you live?” the officer retorted,

“South Minneapolis,” he quickly commented.

In another bizarre twist the officer said, “Have you ever been on 38th and Chicago Avenue?”

My son said, “Yes sir.”

The officer continues to say, “This spot (Penn and Golden Valley Road) is just like being over there. People get in trouble over here all the time, just like over there. When you wear rags on your head it makes you a suspect.”

The officer’s phone begins to ring. He is told that my son does not have a police record. To add insult to injury, the officer says to my son, “Are you ever going to get in trouble like this again?”

My son says, “No sir.”

The other officer standing next to the assaulting police comments, “He’s Lying.” They take the handcuff

June 9, 2003
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