SF Police Accused of Racial Profiling After Detaining Boy in Front of School

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The parents of a 13-year-old boy are accusing San Francisco police of racial profiling.

The accusation comes after the Sonoma County boy was detained outside his private school by an officer who thought he might be responsible for a car burglary that had just taken place.

Michael, who is in seventh grade, had just walked out of the doors of his school in San Francisco to catch a ride home when he was detained.

"He said put your hands behind your back," Michael said of the officer. "I was so confused at first. I thought it was a joke."

The boy quickly learned the officer was not joking. Surveillance video shows a police officer putting his hands on Michael. When the student's tutor tried to intervene, his mother said the officer told them he fit the description of a car burglar and needed to be taken in for questioning.

"I think what's so shocking is you had the security guard of his school come out and say he's a child, he's just leaving school," mother Dolores Coleman said. "You had the person picking him up saying it and the officer is not backing down."

San Francisco police said the officer was acting based on description from a witness and detained the boy because he closely matched that description. They said they quickly realized the child was not involved in the burglary and immediately released him.

But Michael's parents believe he was targeted because he is Black.

"It was totally racial profiling," Dolores Coleman said. "I want the police department to know what they did was not OK and how they treated my son is not OK."

Michael came home that day with a release certificate from the police department and his parents said a new opinion on law enforcement.

"My son has been changed. He's not the same person anymore," father Michael Coleman Sr. said. "The innocence is gone now. He has a lot of fear, a lot of hatred toward police officers."

Dolores Coleman added "It's shocking, it's horrifying as Black parents that this would ever happen to our child, but this is it."

Michael said he is now scared when he hears sirens. He wants the police department to know what happened was hurtful.

"Stop doing this to innocent Black people," he said. "They don't deserve it. No one deserves it. Just stop doing it."

Michael's school, Sterne School, issued a statement that said their student did nothing wrong and was simply leaving school and they fully support him. The school has also filed a formal complaint with the San Francisco Police Department.

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