Last week, community leaders including Quanell X, Dr. Candace Matthews, and members of the New Black Panther Nation came together to support a mother outside the Beaumont Police headquarters. They staged a protest against the alleged mistreatment of her 12-year-old son by the Beaumont Police Department (BPD), expressing solidarity with the Texas mother and condemning the actions of the police.
Leesa Bill, the concerned mother, had contacted the Beaumont police on April 18 to raise concerns about her son's well-being. Recounting the incident, she said, "When I dropped him and his younger brother off from school, he was sitting in my back seat, crying and telling me that his father's behavior had worsened."
Bill had hoped that the police would deescalate the situation and ensure the safety of her children. However, the response from the police fell short of her expectations. Bill explained, "I expected them to talk to him, and even if they didn't allow the children to go back home with me, I believe they should've taken them to a safe place." Instead, the police responded in a manner she found distressing. Bill recalled, "The first thing they said was 'let's go,' and as he started backing up, the senior officer remarked, 'if you don't like how your daddy does it, you really ain't gonna like how I do it." Bill alleged that the officers disregarded her children's father's custodial rights and attempted to enforce their own interpretation of a court order.
Quanell X stated, "They had no right to take it upon themselves to interpret a judge's order in a family court and try to enforce it."
According to Bill, the situation escalated further, with the police handcuffing her son. It was at this point that she began recording the incident. She described, "One of the officers put his arm around his neck, slammed his head down into the rocks beside the sidewalk, and then went down on top of him, pushing his head further into the rocks while the other officer pulled his arms back. They then stood over him for a while, and one of them said, 'dad, you come get him,' allowing him to drag him into the house."
Dr. Candace Matthews, Minister of Politics for the New Black Panther Nation, reported that a report was filed with Child Protective Services (CPS), which she escalated to the state office, presenting video evidence. Matthews emphasized their unwavering determination to hold the Beaumont Police accountable for their actions.
The New Black Panther Nation demanded the immediate termination of the officers involved, citing the incriminating evidence captured in the video. Matthews reiterated their commitment to fighting for justice, stating, "This is our job. This is what we do. When community members seek our help, and injustice is at their door, we're here to break that door down."
While the incident sparked attention and activism on the steps of the Beaumont Police Department, with civil rights advocates calling for change, the Beaumont Police Department responded with a statement. According to KFDM, they acknowledged the video circulating on YouTube, which depicted a disturbance between a father and his 12-year-old son. The police stated that their investigation revealed the father's custody rights and indicated that no reports of abuse had been filed prior to this incident. They asserted that both the BPD and Child Protective Services conducted independent investigations, concluding that the father was merely exercising his parental rights. The police maintained that their officers acted professionally and lawfully in a complex and stressful situation, emphasizing their commitment to the safety of all citizens, especially juveniles.