Criminal Justice

Prosecutors Weigh Charges Against Teen Who Says He Was Helping Lost Toddler

A 14-year-old Florida boy who was arrested earlier this month after what he says was an effort to help a lost toddler is confined to his home as prosecutors weigh whether to charge the youth.

The boy, identified in some reports as Edwin, “intended to do a good deed,” his lawyer, Natalie Jackson, said in a news conference covered by the Orlando Sentinel. Surveillance cameras at the Burlington Coat Factory showed the boy walking out of the store with the girl; Edwin says he thought the girl’s mother had left the store without her and he was looking for the parent.

The boy could be charged with false imprisonment, the Orlando Sentinel says.

According to ABC’s Good Morning America, the officer who arrested Edwin, who is African-American, “has a history of controversy involving race.” The Orlando Sentinel also has noted the officer’s past.

In one case, he arrested a black motorist for changing lanes without signaling. The arrestee was a Miami police officer. In another other case, he shot an unarmed black man following a high-speed police chase after seeing the suspect place his hands on his waistband.

Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Thomas has criticized Edwin’s arrest. “This isn’t law enforcement,” he writes. “It’s child abuse.”

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