Roanoke officers didn't violate policy after allegations of mistreating a child; bodycam released

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An internal investigation into allegations of improper conduct and behavior by several Roanoke Police officers accused of mistreating a child has deemed the officers did not violate department policy.

According to the Roanoke Police Department, the investigation stems from an incident February 20. Officers responded to reports of a boy who was “acting unruly” in a store at the 1100 block of Main Street SW. Police say the boy threatened to damage merchandise and harm others.

Officers restrained the boy until his guardians arrived. Police say the boy left the Rivermont School nearby before he entered the store. Officers and the boy waited with a school administrator until the boy’s father arrived to take him home.

RPD says a picture of the incident on Main Street began circulating on social media, with complaints alleging the boy was “forced to kneel instead of sitting on the sidewalk or in the patrol car,” and the officers “chose to force the child into a position that would cause pain and possible injury for an extended period of time,” and was in the position for “at least two hours.”

That prompted the RPD Professional Standards Unit to review body camera footage and speak with school administrators, staff members, and the boy’s parents as part of an investigation into the conduct of the officers.

The unit found the officers involved did not violate department policy or conduct, and there was no sufficient evidence to support the allegations circulating on social media, according to Roanoke Police.

Police say the investigation was unfounded and all the officers involved were exonerated.

RPD released the body camera footage from the incident. Several parts of the video have been redacted to protect the identity of the boy and the identity of community members who are not involved in this incident.

“This video is being released to provide more context and understanding behind this incident, and assure our community that our officers are professional, courteous, and kind when interacting with all members of our community,” said Roanoke Police Chief Scott Booth. “Thank you to the community members who reached out to us with their concerns stemming from this incident. We understand how the picture appeared, and are grateful we could look into this manner and let our community know that these officers acted appropriately and with compassion as they delivered the best possible service to this young man and his family.”

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