*Undercover police on the National Mall in Washington D.C. are under fire for unnecessarily handcuffing and detaining four young black men on Thursday for selling water.
Tim Krepp, who has been a tour guide at the Mall for nearly 11 years, told HuffPost he has seen young boys and girls selling water “all the time” but has never witnessed anyone be detained by police as a result. He said seeing the young men sitting handcuffed on the ground and being searched by the cops immediately struck him ― so he took pictures of the moment and posted them on Twitter.
The tweet has gone viral.
— Tim Krepp (@timkrepp) June 22, 2017
“There’s no way you can avoid the obvious imagery of young black men being handcuffed and clearly being treated as a threat with white cops around,” Krepp told HuffPost.
“Images matter and symbols matter, especially at the National Mall when you’re here to see symbols and images to learn,” he added. “That’s why it’s here, this is a sacred space to talk about our national history and the cops should be aware of that.”
The tweet even prompted D.C. Councilman Charles Allen to send a letter to the U.S. Park Police chief denouncing the officers’ actions and calling out the racial double standard.
“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,” Allen wrote. “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.”