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Parents believe their 7th grade son was racially profiled by SFPD, mistakenly detained outside school


SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — The family of a 13-year-old boy say he was racially profiled by a San Francisco police sergeant and mistakenly detained right outside his school. They have now filed a lawsuit against the City and County of San Francisco.

“Never in a million years would I have thought something like this would happen with him walking out of school,” mum Dolores Coleman said.

Coleman says a San Francisco police sergeant detained his 7th grade son as he left Sterne School on March 15 for a crime he did not commit.

“Our black and brown kids don’t deserve this and it really needs to stop,” Coleman said.

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Lawyer John Burris said the 13-year-old was racially profiled by Police Sergeant Parra as he got into his guardian’s car after school.

“There was no lawful basis to arrest this young man, only that he was black, African American and that in itself is not enough,” Burris said.

According to Burris, Sterne School employees told the sergeant that the student was at school all day, but the sergeant claimed he fit a suspect’s description which included black pants, a black hoodie and red shoes. Burris says the 13-year-old wore black shoes with red laces.

Michael Coleman says his son has had nightmares since the interaction.

“It’s sad that he doesn’t even want to wear the pair of shoes he had on that day,” Coleman said.

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The San Francisco Police Department referred ABC7 News to the city attorney’s office.

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for the city attorney’s office said, “The city is working to foster trust between law enforcement and local communities. We will investigate the complaint and respond appropriately.

In a statement, the San Francisco Police Officers Association said, “It’s no surprise that an attorney is looking to extract money from the city, but San Francisco police officers are focused on the behavior and descriptions of suspects when they stop or detain people, period. The reality is that we have too many examples of teenagers committing very serious crimes, from thefts to carjackings to shootings, so the fact that this is happened to a teenager is irrelevant to the crimes we are trying to solve.”

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Sterne School sent families a message calling the incident disturbing and saying the student had done nothing wrong. Also, that the school has filed a complaint with the San Francisco Police Department.

The Coleman family say they are now looking for schools for their son in North Bay.

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