MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - The teens who were detained at Minnehaha Regional Park last Tuesday are now sharing their story of what happened.
The incident was captured on video and has now been shared thousands of times on Facebook; in total, it has been viewed more than 2 million times.
The incident started with what now appears to be a false 911 call, leading to an officer pointing a gun at the group of four Somali teens aged 13 to 16 years old.
“When I was at the park I was just trying to have a good day with my friends, and this white kid just comes up to us, saying racial slurs to us, and when the cops came they just pulled guns to our faces,” said one of the teens detained at the park. “I felt like I was discriminated, and I felt it was not supposed to happen. And I hope it never happens to anyone again.”
“They pulled a gun in my face, and I was scared. One was shaking and I was scared that he was going to shoot me,” said 14-year-old Suhaib Ahmed, another teen who was detained at the park.
Park police say they were responding to a 911 call. The caller reported four males holding knives and sticks. The caller said one of the boys said he had a gun in his backpack and that they were assaulting the caller's boyfriend.
Police found no weapons and are now investigating the validity of that call.
“I was scared. I thought that would be my last day of the world,” said 13-year-old Abdijabar Ahmed.
The Minneapolis Park Police say officers, “responded to all the information they had at the time, which was the information provided in the 911 call. We do regret that that misleading call set this series of events into motion.”
Last week, Park Police Chief Jason Ohotto and Superintendent Mary Merrill met with the boys and their families in person.
After viewing body-worn camera footage, they are requesting an independent investigation “to determine that park police policies, procedures and laws were followed.”
At a press conference Monday hosted by the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the council’s executive director, Jaylani Hussein, called for a thorough investigation.
“The reality here in this case is that Park Police – unlike traditional police – typically should have a higher level of tolerance toward working with young folks who are accessing the parks, and families,” Hussein said.
“We believe this is more than what took place with these children; we believe this is a system that has failed and will continue to fail other children,” Hussein said.
Park Police have not yet said if they have located the 911 caller. The officer involved is still working for the department.