UPDATED - Charges were dropped against three African-American teenagers who said they were waiting for a school bus last week when they were arrested by police.
“After reviewing the facts associated with these arrests, I have decided to dismiss the charges in the interest of justice,” said District Attorney Sandra Doorley in a statement Tuesday.
The basketball players said they were waiting for a bus in Rochester, N.Y., to take them to a scrimmage when police asked them to leave the area. When 17-year-old Deaquon Carelock and 16-year-olds Raliek Redd and Wan’Tauhjs Weathers pushed back against the officer’s request, saying they were following instructions from their coach, police arrested them. The teens were later charged with two counts of disorderly conduct.
“You’re just downtown minding your own business and the next thing you know, anything can happen,” Carelock said in video captured by WHEC.
“We tried to tell them that we were waiting for the bus,” Weathers added. “We weren’t catching a city bus, we were catching a yellow bus. He didn’t care. He arrested us anyways.”
Police say the teens were obstructing pedestrian traffic and repeatedly ignored orders to disperse, according to a police report obtained by FOX station WROC. Police had been keeping an eye on the area after receiving complaints of loitering from a nearby store. The students’ coach said he had no reason to think they were causing trouble.
“My guys were waiting for the bus like they normally do,” Jacob Scott, the student’s basketball coach, said. “I get to the scene after parking my car and three of my guys are handcuffed.”
At that point Scott says he tried to explain to the officer that the students were simply following his instructions to wait for the ride to their scrimmage, prompting the officer to tell him he too might be arrested if he didn’t leave the area.
“One of the police officers actually told me, if he had a big enough caravan, he would take all of us downtown,” Scott said, referring to himself and the other students waiting to attend the scrimmage on a day off from school.
“These young men were doing nothing wrong, nothing wrong,” he said of the arrested players. “They did exactly what they were supposed to do.”
Others in the community are coming to their defense, including one member of the local school board.
“I’m very concerned about a pattern of young people, especially young people of color, being mis– abused by police authority,” Rochester City School Board Member Mary Adams said to WHEC. “To me, this seems like a really clear case, part of a pattern.”
The teens posted bail, and the case is scheduled for disp
“They are not bad kids,” Raliek Redd’s mother, Crystal Chapman, said. “They are awesome boys. They all have good grades in school. I don’t want them to be profiled at all.”