GASTONIA, N.C. — Family members say police and prosecutors are going too far after two 15-year-old twin boys have been charged with first-degree attempted murder and assault on a law enforcement officer.
Channel 9′s Dave Faherty was at the courthouse when the teens went before a judge Thursday.
While the family is hoping the district attorney will reconsider and dismiss the charges, the judge said he first wants to hear arguments about whether the hearing should even be open to the public.
The mother of the twins, Tangyika Brawley, said they were trying to get home on their bicycles when a Gastonia police officer stopped them on a street that had been blocked off for a fireworks show. She said both boys have developmental disabilities.
“It replays in my head every single day since that day. That phone call … being on the phone with your child,” Brawley said.
“To see your kids being thrown around and dragged around by people you did respect. And now I don’t have that kind of feeling for them,” Marcel Fuller, the twin’s father, said.
The officer stopped the boys near the barricade and warned them that they would be arrested if they tried to pass.
Kerwin Pittman with Emancipate NC said the body camera video shows other people walking through the area. He said when an officer grabbed one of the teens, the other tried to protect him. This led to more police being called to the scene.
“Multiple officers jump on these individuals as they’re on the ground. These are 15-year-old kids for God’s sake. These are kids ... trying to ride their bike home,” Pittman said.
Civil Rights Attorney Dominique Camm said he’s also watched the body cam video. He said he believed action was warranted against the officers.
“You will see an officer who is bragging and celebrating getting a few good licks in on minors who have special needs,” Camm said.
Channel 9 asked prosecutors why they were charging the teenagers with attempted murder. They said it would be “unethical” for him to comment.
We also reached out to the Gastonia Police Department about the decision. They said the department does not comment on pending criminal prosecutions.
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