SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Hours after a news conference was held by an Elk Grove family that alleges their 11-year-old son was tackled and unlawfully detained by Cal Expo Police, a statement issued by Cal Expo and the State Fair was released regarding the incident.
“The safety of all fairgoers, especially our youth, is our top priority at the California State Fair,” the statement reads. “That is why we have a code of conduct policy in place for all fairgoers.”
The family of Elijah and their lawyer allege that he was chased by police because of horseplay, and that he was singled out from the group of around six children because he is Black. In a news conference, Elijah’s mother, Cynthia Martin, said that he was tackled, dragged and pushed against a fence by officers.
The statement from Cal Expo says that on July 19 at around 11:30 p.m., a child that was unattended by a parent or guardian was “demonstrating dangerous behavior” and climbed a safety fence that almost caused him to be hit by a roller coaster.
“Cal Expo Police were initially notified about this youth by fair vendors indicating he was attempting to steal items,” the statement reads.
Elijah and his family said that officers provided medical attention to Elijah before he was taken to the hospital, indicating that they knew they had injured him during the confrontation.
The statement from Cal Expo says, “After a short chase, the boy was detained by Cal Expo Police and a small cut was addressed with a Band-Aid.”
Cal Expo also said the officers questioned Elijah for a short time and had him sign an agreement to not return to the fair.
“We believe the Cal Expo Police followed all proper policies to quell the situation and keep the minor safe,” the statement reads.
In the Monday news conference, Martin said that the officers held Elijah for more than thirty minutes and that they refused to allow her inside, something that the family’s lawyer, Mark Merin, said is against the due process rights of the parents.
Merin said he has filed a claim that the family’s civil rights were violated and that he is awaiting a response from the State Fair’s counsel.