Newark police refute claim 8-year-old girl was handcuffed during raid
The Newark Police Department is refuting a mother’s claim that her 8-year-old daughter was put in handcuffs during an apartment raid in April.
Police say they entered Shiela Austin’s home in search of a weapon allegedly owned by her 17-year-old son. The son was accused in a recent shooting incident.
Austin told News 12 New Jersey that she and her daughter sat in handcuffs as they watched more than 20 police officers conduct a search that lasted for about an hour.
In police body camera video obtained by News 12 New Jersey, the officers are seen interacting with the 8-year-old in a bedroom. She is later seen with her hands covered by a blanket as she sits next to her mother. Shiela Austin is restrained by zip-tie handcuffs on the couch.
Newark Public Safety Director Fritz Fragé says the child was never handcuffed.
“The body-cam footage definitively reveals that the child was not handcuffed during the execution of a search warrant on April 27, 2023," the director wrote. "A careful frame-by-frame examination also reveals several instances where the young girl’s hand and arm movements had a full range of motion."
The Newark Police Office of Professional Standards is conducting a full investigation into the incident.