Teshawn Bernard, the 12-year-old who was handcuffed and detained while taking out the trash, is speaking out about what police are calling a case of “mistaken identity.”
The pre-teen and his family appeared on “Good Morning America” on Monday to discuss the incident.
When it happened I was really, like, shocked and frightened about, like, the situation and how it happened.
And right now I’m feeling just the same way, like, just really shocked how, you know, how this could have come to this circumstance of what’s going on.
His father, Michael Bernard, said Teshawn is a straight-A student who aspires to become an engineer.
Michael also said the incident angered him and only heightened the fears he has for his son in the current climate of America.
I was so mad I don’t want to hear anything.
In this time and era in America, I am scared for anything to happen to my son.
Michael said the incident happened last Thursday (August 10) when he asked his son to take out the trash, and after he noticed he had been gone for several minutes he looked outside and saw his son surrounded by police.
I saw police around him so I dropped what I had in my hand and rushed downstairs, and I said to the police officer, I said, ‘Why you have my son in handcuff?
What’s the problem?’
Tashawn was released from police moments later, but he was visibly shaken, as Tashawn walked toward his father, his father continued to chastise the police.
When the police walked away, Mr. Bernard explained what happened to a neighbor.
I’m just washing up the dishes and I tell my son to take the garbage down.
You know what I’m saying? They traumatize my son.
The Lansing Police Department posted on Facebook saying their officers were pursuing a suspect in a string of Kia thefts wearing neon shorts and a white shirt. A different officer saw Tashawn wearing a similar outfit and put handcuffs on him.
The Bernard’s family attorney, Rico Neal, said Teshawn did not have on a white shirt. He had on a light gray or light blueish color shirt.
The Lansing Police Department also released the following statement concerning the incident:
Our hope is we can put this unfortunate case of “wrong place, wrong time” behind us and continue to represent the community we serve.
The Bernard family wants the police department to take accountability, and they said they are keeping all options on the table including the possibility of filing a lawsuit.
The mayor apologized for the ordeal and told ABC News that the Lansing Police Department is in contact with the family and providing support for any trauma involved, but the family said they have yet to be contacted by the mayor or police.