Prosecutors in Idaho authorised a police arrest of a 9-year-old-boy over a failure of the boy appearing in court over stolen chewing gum charges.
The child was arrested on January 9th and released the same day.
Post Falls Police Chief Scot Haug said the boy had been accused of stealing gum earlier in the summer and that they were legally obliged to arrest him. However, it seems now that prosecutors regret the arrest. Prosecutor Barry McHugh said in a statement:
“After reviewing the file today, I have concluded that my office’s request to have an arrest warrant issued was a mistake under the circumstances,” McHugh said, referring to a statement his office issued Monday.
Video of the arrest warrant over stolen chewing gum
“He was not handcuffed, he was not searched. He was not put it into jail, they basically just gave him a ride,” Haug said. “Now, that doesn’t make it right.”
He added: “When the warrant was issued, it was shocking to our staff. I’ve never seen that happen before. I think this case slipped through the cracks.”
Post Falls, which is just east of Spokane, Wash., has a population of about 30,000.
McHugh, an elected prosecutor, said his office had unsuccessfully tried to enroll the boy and his parents in a court diversion program. In the statement, McHugh said his office should have requested the court order a child-protection investigation, which would have generated more information about the boy’s situation.
“Knowing the child’s age, the charged offense, and other circumstances in the case, we should have attempted this other option,” he said.