Last Thursday, three black teens (two 17-year-olds and a 16-years-old) were detained for selling bottles of water at Washington D.C.’s National Mall without a permit. The young men were detained by plainclothes officers—captured in a photo by passerby Tim Krepp, a tour guide—for the “safety of the officers and of the individuals.”
Krepp’s documentation of the event spawned outrage from commentators, locals, and Krepp himself who said, “There's obviously a racial disparity in how they are treating these young men and other vendors that we see on the mall.”
Writing in a letter to Police Chief Rovery MacLean following the incident, D.C. Democratic Council member Charles Allen said, “While I understand the need to maintain consistency in permitted actions, I do not understand why the enforcement cannot take place with uniformed personnel and actions less severe than handcuffing individuals suspected of the sales. I can’t help but think how the reaction by these same officers might have varied if different children had set up a quaint hand-painted lemonade stand on the same spot,”[…]“While still the same violation of selling a beverage without proper permits and licenses,"[…]"I doubt we would have seen little girls in pigtails handcuffed on the ground."