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Durham Police Apologize For Guns Drawn Mistakenly At Teen

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku
Flickr Creative Commons

Police officers in a North Carolina city wrongly detained a 15-year-old boy with their guns drawn. Now, the city's police chief is apologizing for the incident.

The encounter happened Aug. 21 after officers responded to other “weapons-related calls” at the same apartment building where the incident happened, Durham Police Chief Cerelyn J. Davis said in a statement posted on the police department's Facebook page Sunday.

They went to the Durham building again after they got another call about a “suspicious person” with a gun and drugs, according to Davis.

“Upon their arrival, Durham police officers believed an individual behind the building was the suspect,” Davis said in the statement. “It was not until the young man was detained that officers realized he was not the suspect, but rather, a 15-year-old resident.”

Officers who had their weapons initially drawn due to the “nature of the call” holstered them when they realized the teen was not the suspect, she said. “Regrettably, an 8-year-old had witnessed the incident,” Davis added.

The police chief said she met with the boy's family following the incident, and understands the “current climate of adverse encounters by police in communities of color.” She did not give the races of those involved.

An internal investigation is ongoing.

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