Newark, N.J. police officers who were carrying shotguns chased a 10-year-old boy through the streets on Aug. 14 after police say they mistook Legend Preston, a local fifth grader, for an adult man who was a robbery suspect, the New York Daily News reports. The Daily News is also reporting that neighbors who saw cops with their guns drawn and running after Preston formed a human shield around the boy to protect him from police.
According to the Daily News, Newark Police Department officers were pursuing an adult black male who was an armed robbery suspect when they began to chase Preston instead. WABC News reports that Preston had been playing basketball and went to retrieve a ball that rolled into the street when police began to run after him. Neighbors who stepped in yelled that Preston is only a child, and Preston's mother, Patisha Preston, claims police insisted her young son matched the description of their suspect.
Patisha Preston posted a video of her son in tears following the police chase. In her post accompanying the video of her son, Preston wrote:
They chased down my 10-year-old son with loaded shotguns ready to shoot because they said he matched the description of the over 6 foot tall man, dark skin with long locs...which my son is none of.
Preston added police had a photo of the suspect and said that the suspect was running down the block when police changed course to come for Legend. Preston also wrote in her Facebook post that it was "by the grace of God and my [neighbors] who formed a human shield to protect him" that Legend was physically unharmed.
Police told WABC News that while their guns were drawn, they did not point them at Legend. The actual suspect, Casey Joseph-Robinson, 20, was apprehended during the chase and arrested for armed robbery.