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A Georgia police chief is claiming an officer was "within his rights" by putting his hands on 12-year-old artist Lil C-Note.
The Cobb County Police Department has now opened an internal investigation into the Oct. 6 incident, according to WSB-TV. In viral footage, a white officer is seen grabbing the arm of Lil C-Note, real name Corey Jackson, and telling him "you're about to go to jail." The footage was reportedly captured by Jackson's aunt.
At the time, at least according to police, the young artist—who was featured on Ellen back in March 2017—was selling CDs. Police also claim Jackson had been given a "trespass warning" for selling CDs, which they point to as the reason the officer initially approached him.
"I think that it is up to the officer, his discretion, on what transpired there," Cobb County Police Chief Mike Register told reporters earlier this week when asked about the charges against Jackson and the aunt. "I think ultimately that all the officer can do with either a juvenile or an adult is make the charges they think are appropriate. Both individuals, both the juvenile and the adult, will have their day in court. The juvenile was not taken into custody. The juvenile was released to the father, who was on the premises, on a juvenile complaint form."
Both Jackson and his aunt have been charged with obstruction, criminal trespass, and disorderly conduct. Register said they are currently reviewing footage taken from body cameras and mall surveillance. He also confirmed that the officer, who has not been publicly named, is "actively working."
In a statement to CBS 46, lawyer Gerald Griggs called the incident "disheartening' and criticized the officer's behavior seen in the viral footage. "We believe the officer was careless in the handling of this young boy," Griggs said. "He is only 12 years old. At the time of the arrest, there was no probable cause that my client had committed a crime. In fact, the officer detained Corey while attempting to find probable cause. The Fourth Amendment provides individuals, such as Mr. Jackson, the protection by law against 'unreasonable searches and seizures.' An arrest is a seizure." Griggs is also demanding that charges be dismissed.
The footage has inspired widespread backlash on social media, with many slamming the officer and questioning why the encounter even occurred in the first place: