Family of 14-year-old pinned, punched by Rancho Cordova police officer demands accountability

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The Latest on the family and community response to the video (May 1):

In response to the video of a Rancho Cordova police officer pinning and punching a 14-year-old boy, Rev. Kevin Ross, on behalf of the faith leaders of Sacramento ACT, sent FOX40 a statement, which reads in part: 

The millions of outraged Americans who viewed this video are not wrong in their characterization of this as a criminal act. If we witnessed this behavior from anyone else — an armed grown man beating a child in public – we would demand his arrest, especially, if the child was a white boy. Is a 14 year old Black and Polynesian boy any less a minor because of his race?  Shouldn’t this child be afforded the same protections under the law?

Rev. Kevin Ross, Sacramento ACT

The statement calls for the removal of Officer Brian Fowell and demands he is charged with criminal assault and endangerment of a minor.  


Original story below:

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. (KTXL) — The family of 14-year-old Jah gathered in the spot outside a 7-Eleven demanding responsibility from the Rancho Cordova police department after their officer, Brian Fowell, is captured on video pinning Jah to the ground and punching him, after busting the teen for having tobacco.

The family is asking for accountability for the officer’s actions.

“Accountability for using excessive force on a person that’s less than half your size. Accountability for repeatedly throwing punches at him when he’s yelling he’s 14 years old,” said Jah’s mother.

New Rancho Cordova Police Chief Kate Adams addressed the video Wednesday.

“I have been in contact with the officer and we both have seen the news report in which the young man expressed remorse about the way he handled himself… he wanted to meet with our officer.”

Rancho Cordova Police Chief Kate Adams

“My son’s hands were up because he was scared, as anybody would have. Nobody should be treated that way whether he’s a child or not. It just makes it worse that he is a child,” said Jah’s mother.

“I did lie to him. And I didn’t cooperate. And I know that. And I made that mistake. But that didn’t give him no right to do what he did,” said Jah.

FOX40 spoke with witnesses heard on the video, pleading for the officer to stop.

“And all you see is the kid go up in the air and go on the ground. And then we see him punching him and we speed through there, pull up and we’re like, ‘Stop hitting him. Stop hitting him,’” said witness Angela Galbraith.

Attorneys for the family say the officer blew the opportunity to build a bridge with youth that day.

An officer who’s supposed to be trained in how to deal with these situations to deescalate these situations, and instead the officer escalated the situation,” said Adante Pointer, Attorney with John Burris.

The family is demanding that Ranch Cordova Police terminate the officer and file criminal charges against him.

“Until we start seeing consequences for the actions of these officers, we’re going to keep seeing them do the same thing over every year,” said Tanya Fasion, Founder of Black Lives Sacramento.

“We’re still in a fight for our family when it comes to justice and accountability,” said Stevante Clark, brother of Stephon Clark, who was shot and killed by police officers in 2018.

Adams says her department is taking the incident very seriously and have taken the officer off the streets.

“The officer involved has been temporarily reassigned to a different role outside of the Rancho Cordova Police Department.”

Rancho Cordova Police Chief Kate Adams

Below is Adam’s full statement on incident.

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