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Community gathers to support boy who was hit by officer on body cam video

Posted: 9:45 PM, May 09, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-09 22:43:12-04

ALBION, Mich. — Dozens of people participated in a rally Thursday night in Albion to protest police brutality after a 13-year-old with special needs was punched by an officer.

The incident happened in November after the boy’s grandmother called police to help with a domestic situation.

Body camera footage shows an officer punching Da’veon Cieslack while he was yelling for help.

Officials say the officer knew him personally and about his condition and can be heard calling Cieslack by name in the video, making the situation more frustrating for Cieslack’s family.

“Angry. Devastating, yeah. But angry,” said his mother, Alexis Berg. “Almost betrayed, they had a rapport. He knew his condition.”

The community came together Thursday to make sure everyone knows that officer’s actions weren’t acceptable with Albion’s citizens.

“It can be frustrating, being a police officer. But when you have to deal with the stress of having someone like Da’veon, regardless of how many times you interact with him, in that moment you’re going to get frustrated and you need to know what to do,” Berg said.

Berg says she won’t stop fighting for her son until something changes in the city’s police department.

“Something has to be done. That’s not right. My baby was handcuffed,” she said.

Cieslack has been in a juvenile detention center since the night of the incident for something unrelated to the November incident.

The Albion Police Department didn’t make any comments on Thursday’s rally, but has said the officer violated many of the department’s policies in a previous statement and fired him after an internal investigation.