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DC Attorney General: 10-Year-Old Boy Handcuffed by Police ‘Totally Innocent'

Washington, D.C.'s attorney general says a 10-year-old boy who was handcuffed after an armed robbery is "totally innocent" and will not be charged.

Video of D.C. officers putting handcuffs on the boy near 5th and H streets NE on Saturday sparked outrage on social media.

"He is not resisting!" a woman can be heard yelling in the background as an officer walks the boy toward a cruiser in handcuffs. "That is not OK!"

A boy reported to police that three other children assaulted him and took his cellphone at gunpoint about 4 p.m. in the 200 block of Massachusetts Avenue NE before running off.

Police said two children they stopped, a 10-year-old boy and a 13-year-old boy, were positively identified as taking part in the robbery. Police said they also recovered a BB gun and the stolen cellphone.

However, Attorney General Karl Racine said in a news release Friday his office reviewed multiple surveillance videos that captured the crime and "we are now certain that there is no evidence that the 10-year-old boy played a role in the armed robbery. He is totally innocent."

Racine said the boy won't face any charges.

"Typically, we do not publicly comment on any of our juvenile cases because District laws protect the confidentiality of all juveniles involved in the justice system," Racine said in the statement. "But this is necessary because in the court of public opinion this innocent 10-year-old was deemed guilty and criminalized."


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Chaquitta Williams, the boy's mother, previously told News4 her son was innocent.

"I just had to cry. It just hurt my feelings so bad to see my son put in handcuffs at the age of 10," she said.

Williams said the experience traumatized her son.

"He couldn’t even sleep last night. His mind was just so rumbling."

Police previously said they didn't realize at first that Williams' son was so young.

"After the identification process, officers realized one of the suspects was ten years old and, per general order, they made notifications to their official who then notified Youth and Family Services (YFSD)," a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement.

"After consideration, it was determined the ten year old would not be summarily arrested on the scene and that a custody order would be applied for by the investigating detective."

Police did arrest the 13-year-old boy.

Racine acknowledged that the Metropolitan Police Department acted in accordance with its policies and procedures.

"We owe it to the young victim of this crime to hold the people who hurt him accountable. We also owe it to the 10-year-old who was incorrectly identified as an armed robber to set the record straight," Racine said. "I am speaking to you today to publicly exonerate this young person and to stress the importance of the laws which protect the confidentiality of all of the young people involved in our justice system—both victims and offenders."

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