T.I. is reiterating his calls for structural change after a Georgia police officer drew his gun on unarmed black teens.
"Why don't we ever see little white kids being held at gunpoint?" T.I. said while speaking to the press Tuesday. "The Constitution was written for all Americans, OK? Except it only seems like you have to be a certain shade or a certain color to reap the benefits of it? Why are only people of color—young black boys, young black girls—being gunned down at the hands of policemen and using excuses like BB guns, water guns? [There are] little white boys that got real rifles go hunting every day, every week with their grandparents and parents; they ain't being held at gunpoint ... Let's not mix words and pretend like we don't understand what we're dealing with."
The incident occurred Monday night in Clayton County, after police received a report about a group of minors who were allegedly stealing from a convenience store and waving a gun. The Clayton County PD has released audio from the 911 call, in which the clerk tells the dispatcher that the boys were no longer inside the store, but appeared to be fighting in the parking lot.
According to 11Alive, an officer arrived at the store minutes later and was told what direction the boys had headed. Body cam footage released by the police department shows the officer finding the teens on foot; he then gets out of his vehicle with his gun drawn.
"Stop! All of y'all stop! Get your hands up! Up! Walk toward me," he shouts at the teens. "Get your hands up or you're going to get hurt. ... Just relax." He also implores, "Please, I don't want to hurt any of y'all."
As he gets closer to the group, the officer asks the teens what happened at the store. Moments later, citizens began to gather around and question why the boys are being held at gunpoint.
"Please, sir. They kids," one person is heard saying off camera. "Don't shoot."
"Why you got a gun out?" another shouts.
"Because I'm being safe," the officer says.
After backup arrives, the teens are patted down by several officers; the search yields no weapons. The officers take the boys back to the store and ask them why the clerk believed they had a gun. One of the teens admits they were carrying a BB gun, but discarded it before they were encountered by police. The BB gun is retrieved shortly after.
"This looks like a real gun! That's the problem," the officer tells the boys. "Y'all pull this out y'all gonna get shot, man."
No charges were filed.
The incident ignited outrage across Georgia, with many community members and activists calling for the involved officers to be terminated. 11Alive reports a protest is scheduled for Wednesday.