Newark cops draw guns, chase boy they thought was 20-year-old robbery suspect
NEWARK — Police officers with guns drawn reportedly chased a 10-year-old boy down an alley after mistaking him for a 20-year-old armed robbery suspect on Aug. 11.
Neighbors said they had to rush to the boy's aid, telling cops he was only a child.
After the incident, Patisha Solomon, the mother of 10-year-old Legend Preston, posted a video of her crying son on Facebook. When asked why he was nervous the boy tearfully replied "because they tried to shoot me." When asked by his mother who tried to shoot him, the boy said, "the cops."
"My son is in counseling even scared to go play because it happened right at our house," Solomon said in the post. "You despicable cops have no care for our children. My fun loving child is forever changed."
Solomon said in the post that her son will no longer leave his father's side and "when he breaks down he says 'they tried to kill me mommy.'"
The actual suspect that police were searching for was later apprehended and identified as Casey Joseph Robinson, 20, of Newark. He faces robbery and weapons possession charges.
The suspect and the boy are both black, but their similarities in appearance seem to end there. Robinson is pictured in Essex County jail booking photos, including one that predates his arrest, sporting long dreads.
Just before the incident, Legend was playing basketball near his home when the ball rolled into the street, his mother told Eyewitness News. He ran after the ball and assumed police were chasing after him because he ran into the street without looking.
On Tuesday, Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose told NJ Advance Media that the Essex County Prosecutor's Office is investigating the incident, which is "standard protocol." The police department's internal affairs division is also investigating. The division's preliminary probe found "that at no time did officers point a weapon at any child in the area," police told NJ Advance Media.
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.