Investigation underway after Santa Clarita deputies draw guns on Black teens who were assaulted

An investigation is underway into an incident in which sheriff's deputies detained at gunpoint two Black teens in Santa Clarita who were actually the victims of an assault by a homeless man.
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (KABC) -- Concerns are being raised about the handling of an incident in which sheriff's deputies detained at gunpoint two Black teens in Santa Clarita who were actually the victims of an assault by a homeless man.

From video and social media posts about the incident, it appears the deputies mistook the unarmed teens as the aggressors and held them at gunpoint while several bystanders tried to tell them that the boys were the victims.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth are both expressing concerns about the way the deputies handled the incident. An investigation is underway.

The mother of one of the boys said her son and his friends were attacked by a homeless man with a knife. She says the boys defended themselves with a skateboard.

She says several calls were made to 911, but one of the callers reported it looks as if the two teens were the ones who were attacking the homeless man.

Video she posted to Instagram shows one deputy pointing a handgun at the boys as they stood with their hands up and then a second deputy arriving at the scene and aiming a rifle.

A woman who identifies herself as the manager of the nearby Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant tries to tell the deputies she was one of the people who called 911 and the boys were the victims.

"This is how the police responded," wrote the mother. "This is something my son and his friends will never forget. I'm still wonder how will I ever help my son recover from this traumatic experience."

The sheriff's department says it has been unable to locate the homeless man, whom they described as a "possible victim."

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An investigation is underway into an incident in which sheriff's deputies detained at gunpoint two Black teens in Santa Clarita who were actually the victims of an assault by a homeless man.



Villanueva said he has seen the video and the matter is under investigation by his department.

"I have concerns regarding the tactics employed," Villanueva said. "A call for service was received regarding a felony assault, and the deputies detained those alleged to be involved. The matter is currently being investigated."


Smyth said the city of Santa Clarita is aware of the incident "and we are very concerned."

"We have spoken to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, and we are aware that a full investigation is underway regarding the level of response by the deputies," the mayor said. "We have asked that the review be expedited and any necessary actions be taken. In addition, we have asked that the deputy be removed from the field pending the outcome of the investigation."

The mother's video of the incident has gone viral with thousands of views. Some protesters were out in Santa Clarita on Monday at the site of the incident calling for a full investigation.

Correction: A previous version of the story stated that there were protesters at the site of the arrest. The story has since been corrected to say at the site of the incident.
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