Most people would applaud kids for having the motivation to open a lemonade stand; it shows independence and a level of drive. However, switch out the lemonade stand for a couple teens selling water bottles and it’s suddenly a crime.

Think Progress reports that three black teens were detained by plainclothes U.S. Park Police officers last week after selling water on the National Mall. To make matters worse, they were handcuffed “for the safety of the officers and of the individuals,” according to Sgt. Anna Rose.

What exactly made the officers fear for anyone’s safety? No one’s sure. But D.C. councilmember Charles Allen is one of the many who feels it was racially motivated.

“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,” Allen wrote in a letter. “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 in the same spot.”

Let’s hope that the young people were not traumatized by the overly forceful incident.

 

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