10-year-old Legend Preston was playing basketball near his Newark, NJ home on August 10. When the ball rolled into the street, he ran to retrieve it, then saw police rushing in his direction with shotguns drawn.
The terrified grade-schooler then ran from the police and toward an alley because he was worried he might be arrested for running into the street without looking. He added that he thought the officers might have "thought that I rolled the ball into the street on purpose, and they were just holding shot guns at me trying to shoot me," he told WABC-TV.
According to Preston, when the police confronted him in the alley, their guns were pointed directly at him. It was only when neighbors formed a human shield around him and an adult screamed at the officers that they were detaining a young child that the police de-escalated. Newark PD admits that officers' guns were drawn, but deny they were ever pointed at Preston.
The police had been chasing an armed robbery suspect when they encountered Preston, who despite being large for his age has short hair and is well under six-feet-tall, unlike the suspect they were
chasing, 20-year-old Casey Joseph Robinson (pictured to the right). Robinson was apprehended later, according to the New York Daily News.
Preston's mother, Patisha, wrote in a Facebook post that police insisted that Legend matched Robinson's description and that she could file a report over the incident if she chose to. Patisha later posted this video of Preston, still stunned and upset after his encounter with the police:
It's perfectly understandable why Preston felt he had to run for his life when being advanced upon by police with weapons drawn. In 2014, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann two seconds after the officer jumped out of his police cruiser. Loehmann mistook Rice's pellet gun for a real handgun, and testified before a grand jury that the child appeared to him to be at least 18 years old and engaged in an "active shooter situation."