An officer in Mississippi’s Senatobia Police Department was fired this week after taking a 10-year-old boy into custody for urinating in public.
The child’s mother, Latonya Eason, told FOX13 that she was meeting with an attorney for some legal advice when she was notified by an officer that her son was urinating behind her car.
“I was like son, why did you do that? He said, ‘Mom, my sister said they don’t have a bathroom there,’ I was like you knew better, you should have come and asked me if they had a restroom. He was like you handled it like a mom. He can get back in the car,” Eason said.
The officer was going to let the boy off with a warning, but that changed when several other officers with the department arrived on the scene and one said the child should go to jail.
“No, him urinating in the parking lot was not right, but at the same time I handled it like a parent and for one officer to tell my baby to get back in the car it was okay and to have the other pull up and take him to jail. Like no,” Eason told FOX13. “I’m just speechless right now. Why would you arrest a ten year old kid.”
Eason said officers charged her son with child in need of services and then released him to her.
“That could really traumatize my baby,” Eason said. “My baby could get to the point where he won’t want to have an encounter with the police period.”
Senatobia Police Chief Richard Chandler initially defended the officer’s decision to refer the boy to youth court because he committed “acts that would be illegal for an adult under identical circumstances.”
However, Chandler said it was an “error in judgement” for the officer to take the boy to jail because his mother was there as a “reasonable alternative” to transport him to the police station.
In a statement on Monday, Chandler said one of the officers involved “is no longer employed” with the department as an internal investigation found that the “officer’s decisions violated our written policy and went against our prior training on how to deal with these situations.”
The other officers involved in the incident will also be disciplined and given additional juvenile training, according to the statement.
“We deeply value your trust and support, and we are dedicated to continually improving and learning from our mistakes,” Chandler said.