Amid the frequent knife threats and attacks in Korea, a teenager was beaten by two police officers after being mistaken for carrying a weapon.
In the city of Uijeongbu in Gyeonggi Province on August 6, a 16-year-old middle school student was jogging around his neighborhood when suddenly two police officers tracked him down.
According to the victim’s family post in an online community, the police received an emergency call at around 10 p.m. (KST) with a report that a man wearing a black hoodie was running around with a knife.
The teenager was going for a jog like he does regularly and was not carrying any weapon. At one point, he had stopped to observe children playing soccer in a nearby park by the river. When he started running again, the children found him suspicious and reported him to the police.
The police arrived at the scene and approached the victim to apprehend him. Because the officers were not in uniform and wearing regular clothes, the teenager was afraid that he might get attacked and tried to flee. Because of this, the detectives believed he was attempting to escape and chased after him.
While running away, the teenager tripped and injured his head, back, arms, and legs as the police officers apprehended him. He was bruised all over and bleeding, as seen in the pictures the parents posted.
Witnesses who saw the victim get brutally apprehended posted photos and videos of the incident, labeling him as “the person causing a disturbance with a weapon” on social media. This upset the victim’s parents, who protested against what they deemed as the police’s excessive use of force.
They claimed that their son, covered in blood, was taken to the police station in handcuffs instead of being immediately taken to the hospital. They also alleged that the police officers dressed in regular clothes had assaulted their son without identifying themselves or stating the Miranda warning.
Our child goes to the river for exercise every day, wearing headphones and a hoodie to sweat. He didn’t receive any assistance from the police, and after we took our child to the hospital ourselves, the diagnosis took about three weeks.
— The parents of the victim
The victim’s parents also shared that the detectives continued to attack and handcuff him even though he stated he was “just a middle schooler.” The police never said sorry for forcefully apprehending the innocent teen.
The police stated that what they saw on CCTV justified their response.
Based on the CCTV footage, when the children playing soccer saw the victim and ran away, it was a situation that to some extend justified our response… As the detectives were trying to show their police identification for a search, the victim attempted to flee and tripped.
— The police
A police official also said it was a complicated situation where one side was trying to apprehend while the other tried to escape. They also plan to meet with the victim’s parents to explain the situation.