New Jersey police accused of aiming shotguns at 10yo boy in case of mistaken identity

© Patisha Solomon
Officers in Newark, New Jersey, were chasing a 10-year-old boy after down an alley while in pursuit of a robbery suspect. Neighbors helped the boy, forming a human shield around him during the encounter. Police deny they used shotguns.

Nearly two weeks ago, 10-year-old Legend Preston was caught up in a police pursuit of a robbery suspect near his home in Newark. His family says police lost track of the suspect and then focused on Legend, chasing him into an alley behind his house. Patisha Solomon, Legend's mother, said officers claimed Legend matched the description of the suspect as neighbors and friends surrounded Legend.

"They chased down my 10-year-old son with loaded shotguns ready to shoot because they said he matched the description of the over 6 foot tall man, dark skin with long locs...which my son is none of," Solomon wrote on her Facebook page. "They had pictures of the perp whom was in eye sight running down the next block!!! Yet they broke off from chasing the perp to chasing my child."

A Newark Police Department spokesman told WABC that the officers did have their guns drawn, but they did not aim them at the boy.

The suspect, a man with dreadlocks named Casey Joseph Robinson, 20, was later apprehended by police.

"He's only 10 years old, how you all chasing him? He's only a kid. I'm like, 'that's messed up'," witness Jackie Kelly told WABC.

In a video posted to Facebook, Legend attempted to recount what happened.

"They tried to shoot me ... the cops," he says, in tears.

Solomon said her "joking smiling" son is now terrified and has attended therapy.

Legend is "scared for his father to leave for work or play outside when he breaks down he says 'they tried to kill me mommy,'" Solomon wrote in one of her several Facebook posts regarding the incident.

Legend was not physically harmed, though Solomon wrote that police at some point believed he was armed, "so my child could be dead right now."