The family of a Black teen filed a lawsuit against the Baton Rouge police department after an officer kneeled on his neck and ignored pleas about having asthma.
The lawsuit, obtained by Atlanta Black Star, alleges one of the arresting officers told 16-year-old Dillion Cannon “I don’t give a damn,” after the teen told officers he suffers from asthma. The incident took place last July when police pursued a vehicle in which Cannon was a passenger over a seatbelt violation.
Tenesha Cannon, the teen's mother, filed the lawsuit and claims both the driver and Dillion exited the car after it came to a stop with their hands on their head. Dillion, his mother said in the suit, complied with police commands but was held at gunpoint and “forcefully handcuffed” by officers.
“Our client, her son, was a passenger. He doesn’t control the car … he doesn’t drive it, on his knees, in a submissive position and yet he was handled as if he was a threat,” the family’s attorney Ron Haley said during a press conference after the incident last year, the Atlanta Black Star reported.
Body camera video of the arrest was posted to social media by Baton Rouge activist Gary Chambers soon after Cannon’s arrest. Chambers said in the post’s caption, “any cop that puts their knee in the neck of a citizen they are attempting to detain in America needs to be fired immediately. No exceptions. No excuses.”
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
For more mental health resources, click HERE.