D.C. police say a 10-year-old boy was put into handcuffs Saturday because they believed he took part in an armed robbery near Union Station and they didn't know at first how young he was.
Video of officers putting handcuffs on the boy near 5th and H streets NE 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!"
Police said a juvenile reported to police about 4 p.m. that three other children assaulted him and took his cellphone in the 200 block of Massachusetts Avenue NE before running off. The boy told police that one of the suspects pointed a gun at him during the robbery.
Officers stopped several juveniles matching the description the victim gave. Police say two of them, a 10-year-old boy and a 13-year-old boy, were positively identified as taking part in the robbery.
Officers said they also recovered a BB gun and the stolen cellphone.
"It traumatized him real bad," Chaquitta Williams, the mother of the 10-year-old boy who was handcuffed, told News4.
"He couldn’t even sleep last night. His mind was just so rumbling."
Police 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.
The spokesperson said Youth and Family Services responded to the scene and spoke with Williams and "offered to get her son connected to services and provide any support they may need."
Williams says her son is 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," Williams said.