Minnesota activist Toshira Garraway had just attended a candlelight vigil on Monday (April 11) to mark the one-year anniversary of Daunte Wright's killing when her 16-year-old son called for help: He and a group of friends had been detained and handcuffed by police who accused of a shooting.
Garraway told The Atlanta Black Star the call was a chilling reminder of Daunte Wright's last call to his mother, Katie Wright.
"My son was like, 'Mom, please come. Where are you, Mom?' and my heart dropped," Garraway said.
Her son, Justin Teigen Jr. and three younger children aged 10, 11, and 12 were walking home when officers with the Maplewood Police Department encircled them.
"It was not even curfew," Garraway said, referencing Ramsey County's 10 p.m. - 5 a.m. curfew for children under 16 and midnight to 5 a.m. for children aged 16 and 17.
"They then handcuffed the kids and put them in the back of squad cars and detained them for almost two hours because they said they heard gunshots in the area. And told the kids they were going down for it."
Garraway and her friend Tiffany Burns, rushed to the scene –– located roughly 18 miles away from Brooklyn Center where Wright was fatally shot.
When they arrived, they demanded officers release the children, capturing the whole scene on video. Garraway said officers wanted the mother to provide the names and addresses of the children, but she refused.
"No, y'all not putting my baby name in y'all system," she said. "I promise you're gonna have a lawsuit on your hands."
Garraway told The Black Star that officers "asked the children if 'they knew where the guns were?'" after a business owner said four kids were walking nearby and shots rang out.
Footage obtained by authorities apparently shows a separate group of children walking near the business before the shots ring out, but the group wasn't Garraway's teen son or the other minors they detained.
Maplewood Police Public Information Officer Lt. Joe Steiner said Tuesday (April 12) said officers had reasonable cause to detain the children and said the children were held for a total of 40 minutes.
Garraway and attorneys are now calling for the release of body-worn camera footage to show how the children were treated and the actual length they were held.
Garraway says her son is "terrified" from the ordeal and lost two friends last year after they took a ride from a driver who got into a high speed chase with Maplewood Police.
The mother isn't new to the trauma and supports the community by leading support groups for people who've lost relatives to police violence. Burns is the sister of Jamar Clark who was fatally shot by Minneapolis police in 2015.
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