A Louisiana officer is on leave and 2 others pulled from duty after a Black teen was arrested at a bowling alley

A police officer was placed on administrative leave and two others were pulled from duty after video surfaced on social media of an arrest of a Black teenager in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Posted: Sep 12, 2020 9:01 AM
Updated: Sep 12, 2020 9:01 AM

A Louisiana police officer was placed on administrative leave and two others pulled from duty after social media video surfaced of an arrest of a Black teenager over the weekend, according to the Lafayette Police Department and the child's family's attorney.

Lafayette police arrived around 11:30 p.m. Saturday to the Acadiana Lanes bowling alley, police said in a news release. Officers were responding to reports of someone near the bowling alley with a gun, said a lawyer for the family of twin 16-year-olds, Jabari and Gerard Celestine.

Neither teen had a gun, attorney Ron Haley Jr. told CNN.

The incident is the latest to draw national attention to how police treat Black people. Lafayette police less than a month ago fatally shot a 31-year-old Black man in an encounter that's been investigated by state law enforcement.

"There is a problem with systemic racism and bias in policing and how police treat young Black men," Haley told CNN.

The Celestine twins were waiting Saturday outside the bowling alley before going in, a requirement of Covid-19 measures in the state, the lawyer said. Lafayette officers approached Jabari, read him his rights and handcuffed him, Haley said.

Videos shared on social media show parts of what happened next. In one, a teen, whom Haley says is Gerard, is shown approaching an officer, who appears to push him. Another shows the officer appearing to push Gerard to the ground. Other videos appear to show an officer hitting the teen as they try to handcuff him.

Jabari was released without being charged, and Gerard was arrested on counts of interference, resisting arrest and battery of a police officer, Haley said.

Interim Police Chief Scott Morgan has ordered an investigation into the matter and placed one of the officers on administrative leave, the news release said. The two other officers involved will be temporarily pulled from regular duty pending the investigation, police said.

The police union did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.

The police department would not give CNN more information about the event, pending the investigation, including why officers responded to the bowling alley or the names of the officers or juveniles involved.

Systemic racism in policing must stop, said Haley, who also represents the family of Trayford Pellerin, the Black man shot and killed by Lafayette police in August.

"First you have to be transparent," Haley said. "If you are a law enforcement officer, you have one of the only jobs in the country where it is legal in your job description to take away someone's life, liberty and property. With that power, there must be transparency."

"Police need to be held accountable," community activist Tara Fogleman told CNN. "I am a White woman, but I have five Black children and nine Black grandchildren. That could have been my family."

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