The parents of two Black teens seen in a viral video with authorities pointing weapons at them say they can hardly watch the video of the incident.
Tammi Collins said she couldn't bring herself to watch the full video showing her son, who she wishes to not identify, being ordered to the ground by Los Angeles County Sheriff deputies.
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"I know that my son will never forget this experience. Especially after George Floyd, I sat him down and talked to him about how to respond if he was ever approached by police, so he knew exactly what to do," Collins said. "How to follow orders, not to say anything, not to do anything out of character. So to see how they treated the boys, it was literally heartbreaking. I couldn't watch the full video."
Robert Brown, the lawyer for the families of three teens seen in the video – which has millions of views – said the teens were waiting at a bus stop when a homeless man went after them with a knife. The teens called police, but when they responded, they drew their weapons on them, Brown said.
The video of Friday's incident garnered outrage across social media and led Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth to request the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department remove the deputy involved until an investigation could be completed.
Derrick Gray, a parent of one of the other teens in the video, said the video nearly made him weep.
"When I watched the video, it hurt me, because I’ve given my life for the country. I’m a veteran," Gray said. "I’ve raised my children to do what’s right, you know?"
The parents said they never received a call from the sheriff’s department until the children had been released.
"This is something my son and his friends will never forget. I still wonder how will I ever help my son recover from this traumatic experience. Please pray for my family," Collins said in an Instagram video she shared of the incident.
Collins and Gray said they couldn't help but wonder if the situation might have gone differently if their sons were white.
The LA County Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident and the video, and also said it did not receive a call regarding a homeless man with a knife.
On Monday, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva released a brief video regarding the video and incident in Santa Clarita's Canyon Country, saying the incident is under investigation.
What happened prior to the start of the video of the incident is unclear.
"The young men are still shaken up by the incident. It was traumatizing. After having been attacked with knife, minutes later, they experienced numerous police officer pointing guns at them," Brown said. "So [two] life and death situations in a matter of minutes. At this time, it has been decided that the young men should not speak about what happened and that they should focus on processing the situation and healing."
In the video posted to social media Friday, a crowd can be heard shouting at deputies with weapons trained on the teens.
People off-camera can be heard yelling, "It's not them!" referring to the teens.
The deputies continually tell the crowd to back up, as witnesses tell the teens to make sure they keep their hands up.
The deputies in the video say they were responding to a call about men who matched the teens' descriptions, and that it was standard practice to detain them.
A woman identifying herself as the manager of a nearby Buffalo Wild Wings also tells the deputies that it wasn't the teens who had caused trouble. She said she told the sergeant who was the instigator, and that it was not the teens.
"I'm the one that called you guys," the manager can be heard saying.
Eventually the teens were detained, though no one was arrested.
The sheriff's department said deputies received a call for a possible assault with a deadly weapon in the 19200 block of Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country. The person who had called said they witnessed two men in their 20s hit another man with a skateboard. When deputies arrived, they said they found two men who matched the descriptions, and detained them.
They received no other calls about a knife attack from a homeless man, deputies said.
However, witnesses in the video were shouting at deputies that the teens had called for help after a homeless man pulled a knife on them, and were concerned a man with a knife was loose on the streets.
After questioning the teens and investigating briefly, they made no arrests.
The teens' families said their attorney would be following up with the sheriff's department.
A small group of protesters showed up Monday in front of the bus stop where the incident happened, saying they're angry with the deputies involved.