Kyvan James said one thought went through his head as he lay on the ground after being detained by Richmond County sheriff’s deputies.
He didn’t want to be another Trayvon Martin.
The sheriff’s office is investigating the Saturday night incident after the 15-year-old’s mother, Kenya James, filed a formal complaint alleging her son was assaulted by officers who wrongly suspected he was involved in a possible burglary.
Because the complaint is an ongoing investigation, the sheriff’s office did not provide any details about the case. A juvenile incident report by the Sheriff’s Office listed three officers involved.
Sgt. Shane McDaniel said the internal affairs department continues to take statements from officers, the James family and witnesses. A decision is expected to be made early next week.
According to Kenya James and her son, the teen was walking to his Gebhardt Court home with another 15-year-old about 11 p.m just as deputies responded to a possible burglary at a nearby residence on Leawood Court.
After seeing the two teens on a path from Leawood to Gebhardt Court, officers started chasing them, according to Kenya James. Both boys ran toward James’ home, and and Kyvan was caught by the deputies.
Kenya James said a neighbor called her after seeing Kyvan surrounded by deputies and screaming for his mother.
“When I pulled up at the corner there were like seven cars,” she said. “I was trying to wrap my head around what could have happened.”
She said she told the officers her son suffered from epilepsy and asthma. One of the deputies told her to “shut up.”
Her concerns grew when she finally got a look at Kyvan. Both sides of his head had bruises and swelling, and she said one deputy admitted to hitting him with a flashlight. Kyvan James said that while he was on the ground one officer said he should have shot him.
Kyvan James was taken by ambulance to Georgia Regents Medical Center after his mother insisted he needed medical treatment.
Kenya James said Kyvan, who weighs less than 100 pounds, has been charged with obstruction of a law enforcement officer, a misdemeanor. The sheriff’s office wouldn’t comment about any charges .
On Thursday, Kyvan James said he was experiencing double vision and swelling around one eye. Cuts and scrapes were visible on other areas of his face.
Kenya James said the two boys shouldn’t have run from authorities but did so “out of fear. They panicked.”
After officers determined Kyvan James was not a suspect in the burglary, Kenya James said, they never apologized.
“I understand what they have to go through every day dealing with criminals,” she said. “But they should be able to tell he was a minor.”
She said she wants the officer who struck her son to be fired and hopes the incident will result in more sensitivity training by the department.