14-Year-Old Boy Choked, Arrested, and Prosecuted for Staring at Police


EJI has joined the call to have felony charges dropped against 14-year-old Tremaine McMillian, who has been charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest with violence – a felony – after he allegedly gave police officers a “dehumanizing stare” on a beach in Miami, Florida.

Just after 11:00 a.m. on Memorial Day on Haulover Beach, Tremaine was carrying his newborn puppy, Polo, and a baby bottle for feeding the puppy, and playing around with another youngster when Miami-Dade police on ATVs confronted him.

“They told him that behavior was unacceptable,” Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta told reporters. “He walked away and officers followed him.” Zabaleta said the child gave officers “dehumanizing stares.” A police officer grabbed Tremaine and slammed him to the ground, injuring the puppy, then held Tremaine in a chokehold until he urinated on himself.

Tremaine’s mother, Maurissa Holmes, used her cell phone to capture the incident. His sister, Kearra McMillian, also saw what happened. “My brother did nothing wrong,” she said. “He didn’t say anything to the officer. He just kept walking.”

An Assistant Public Defender entered a plea of not guilty and asked the state to reconsider the charges, but Judge Maria DeJesus Santoveria declined to dismiss the charges and set trial to start at 9 a.m. on July 16, 2013.

petition asking Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle to drop Tremaine’s case has been signed by more than 150,000 supporters to date.