Family alleges State Fair officers discriminated, tackled their 11-year-old son

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A press conference was held at Cal Expo on Monday following the detainment of an 11-year-old Elk Grove boy on July 26 and the alleged harm he experienced while detained by State Fair police officers.

According to Cynthia Martin, her, her son Elijah and a group of children went to the California State Fair and the children were horseplaying when her son was arrested by police for allegedly jumping a fence.

Martin said that her son was the only one grabbed by police because he was the only Black child in the group.

“He was the only child that got beaten by police,” Martin said. “The other children do not look like him. In our neighborhood, most of the people don’t look like us. We have worked hard to create a fair and stable environment.”

According to Martin, the event left physical and emotional scars for both Martin and Elijah.

“It is a tradition to come here and let them be children, have fun,” Martin said. “Unfortunately, we met a nightmare, a life-scarring event. The police terrorized my family and my child, an event etched in my brain forever. My child is not the same.”

Martin alleged that officers chased down her son, dragged him along the ground, cutting his arm, and threw him against a fence.

“The police provided first aid and bandaged his bleeding arm,” Martin said. “His shirt was covered with blood.”

Martin and the family’s attorney, Mark Merin, said that Elijah was then taken into a room by officers where he was “interrogated.”

“No child should be interrogated without the parents present,” Martin said. “They slammed the door in my face and said no. When I tried to push my way in, they threatened to arrest me.”

Merin said that the official accusation was that Elijah jumped a fence.

“There was some jockeying about who was going to get the front seat,” Merin said. “I would think it’s suspicious if there is a group of children and only the Black child is picked out. It raises some questions.”

Elijah was then asked to sign a no trespassing document, according to Merin.

“It’s outrageous that these officers would think that it’s acceptable,” Merin said. “Then making him sign something that he had no knowledge of.”

Merin said that a government tort claim is the first step, which provides for a response to be given within 45 days, and then a federal civil rights lawsuit will be filed.

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