Miami-Dade Police allegedly handcuffed and choked a 14 year old boy while he was carrying a newborn puppy for giving them a “dehumanizing” stare. A court case over the incident will begin on July 16th.
Tremaine McMillian was, by his account, playing on a beach with a friend and his puppy on the Miami boardwalk when police came over to tell them to stop “roughousing.” Though the police later admitted the boys’ activity was neither criminal nor violent, they asked the boys where their parents were. McMillian directed the officers to his nearby mother, and that’s where the family and the police’s story diverge.
McMillian and his mother, Maurissa Holmes, say the police chased down McMillian on ATVs and attacked him essentially without provocation. “The police officers were on their ATVs, and my son was walking,” Holmes said. “They jumped off their ATVs, grabbed him and slammed him to the ground.”
The police, by contrast, claim that McMillian gave them “‘dehumanizing stares,’ clenched his fists and appeared threatening.” According to Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta, that’s evidence that McMillian posed a potential threat and needed to be subdued. “All of that body language alone is already letting the officers know that this is a person that is now obviously getting agitated and can become violent.” A police report also says that McMillian at one point “attempted to pull his arm away, stating, ‘Man, don’t touch me like I did something.'”
McMillian maintains that he could not have balled up his fists, as he was holding both the puppy and its millk bottle. The puppy’s paw was evidently injured during the incident.
The one thing that’s not in dispute, as it was captured on video, is the aftermath. The officers held McMillian down while one of them put him in a headlock:
“He started choking me, and as he was choking me, I urinated on myself because I couldn’t breathe,” McMillian said.