Police to review arrest of teen at church picnic

Updated 4:02 p.m. | Posted 6:34 a.m.

We can’t see what precipitated the arrest of a 15-year-old boy in a Frogtown park on Sunday.

(Obscenities warning)

It happened during a church picnic when the boy says the police officer talked to his mother disrespectfully, the Pioneer Press reports.

Tucker’s 11-year-old brother, Tyrell Tucker, said they had been attending the picnic for their church, St. Paul Fellowship. Another child, whom Tyrell thought was from the neighborhood and not part of the gathering, tried to hit him with a stick and threatened to kill him, Tyrell said. Tyrell said he grabbed a thin stick and whacked the boy with it to protect himself.

Police arrived and were going to take Tyrell away. Instead, the officer took him back to release him and told his mother, Edna Waddle, she needed to sign something, Waddle said.

“He said, ‘Just get your (expletive) kid and get out of here,’ ” Waddle said, adding that she was flabbergasted. “He was like, ‘What kind of (expletive) mother are you? You’ve got your fat (expletive) up at the (expletive) picnic table eating at the buffet when your son just assaulted somebody.’ ”

Tyree Tucker said he responded along the lines of, “Don’t say that to my mother. You’re an officer. We’re going to get your badge number and have a complaint pulled on you.” Tyrell said his brother also called the officer, “You dumb bastard.”

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

“I think this incident touches on broader issues,” Alex Weston, the church member who took the video, told the PiPress. “If it happened in a vacuum, it wouldn’t be as significant, but people I talked to in the neighborhood were concerned about an ongoing pattern of over-policing. I hope this can be a starting point for the community to have a dialogue with police.”

A police spokesman says the department is reviewing the incident.

Update 4:02 p.m. – A statement from the St. Paul Fellowship Church:

The leadership at Saint Paul Fellowship is distraught by the events following our service at Ryan Park last Sunday. We continue to have discussions with members of our congregation who were involved, as well as the police, regarding how this could have been prevented.

These events were traumatizing to those who experienced them, and even to those who witnessed them. As might be expected in a situation of this nature, members of the congregation saw the same events in very different lights. But despite our potentially differing perspectives, we are united in our love for God, for the family in our church who was deeply affected, and also in our desire to see healing for all involved.

As the body of Christ, we are called to work as ministers of reconciliation, and are pursuing opportunities to foster increased communication and trust between the police and members of the community.

Best regards,
Mike Siglin, Pastoral Administrator