A mother in northern Mississippi is asking for an apology and the firing of several police officers at the Senatobia Police Department after her 10-year-old son was arrested for urinating in a parking lot.
LaTonya Eason, the mother of 10-year-old Quantavious Eason, said she was at an appointment August 10 at a business and her son, who was outside, saw a sign saying there was no public restrooms, so he decided to relieve himself on private property near her vehicle, Eason told reporters Wednesday during a news conference with her attorney. An officer who was driving by spotted the boy, she said. He stopped and went inside the business looking for Quantavious’ mother, she said. Eason said she admonished her son for his behavior and the officer seemed satisfied.
She thought the ordeal was over.
“I said, ‘Well you know better, don’t let it happen again.’ The officer was like ‘you handled it like a mom just make sure he doesn’t do it again. He can get back in the car,’” Eason said.
Then four other Senatobia police officers, including a lieutenant arrived, according to Eason. She said her son was arrested, put in a police vehicle and taken to a police station.
Eason said the arresting officer said he had to take action. He “was like, ‘Yeah, I got to arrest him. He can’t do that.’ He made my son get out of the car, told my baby to put his hands behind his back and they took him to the patrol car.” Senatobia is located in northern Mississippi, less than 30 miles south of the Tennessee state line.
Senatobia Police Chief Richard Chandler said in a statement that the child was not handcuffed during the incident.
“An officer personally witnessed a 10-year-old child committing an act in public which would have been illegal for an adult under these circumstances,” Chandler said in the statement, which was posted on Facebook.
The boy’s mother was not present when the incident happened, according to Chandler, but once she was located, she “was advised that her child was going to receive a Youth Court Referral for this matter. The officers then transported the 10-year-old to the police station to complete the paperwork where the child was released to the mother,” the statement said.
Attorney Carlos Moore, who is representing the family, told CNN Quantavious was charged in Youth Court with Child in Need of Supervision. Moore also said the boy was held in a cell at the police station sometime between 45 minutes and an hour. CNN has reached out to Senatobia Police for comment.
LaTonya Eason questioned whether race played a role in the incident. “Would you have put a white child in a cage? If it had been a white child, you know what he probably wouldn’t have even stopped,” she said at the news conference.
In the statement on Facebook, the police chief said, “it was an error in judgment for us to transport the child to the police station since the mother was present at that time as a reasonable alternative.”
“The officer’s decisions violated our written policy and went against our prior training on how to deal with these situations,” a separate statement from police department said. The incident triggered an internal investigation and “as a result of this investigation one of the officers involved is no longer employed, and the others will be disciplined. We will also have mandatory Juvenile training department-wide, just as we do every year.”
Moore and the family are demanding an apology, and that the police chief, the lieutenant on scene, and the arresting officer be fired. The family also wants the arresting officer to be named and for the charge against Quantavious to be dropped.
Nearly a month after the incident, Moore told CNN, 10-year-old Quantavious “is distraught and now afraid of police, and he will start counseling.”