A local African American teen who claimed he was stopped by Edmonds police while he was running along a street Saturday, March 3 has admitted that he fabricated the story because he was late to soccer practice, police said.
The story about the alleged police stop gained traction after the teen’s mother posted it on social media over the weekend. According to the account, a police officer stopped the local high school student simply because of his race. Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling, members of the Edmonds City Council and the news media were also alerted to the alleged incident.
“We immediately launched an investigation into the matter, met with the family involved, and worked on this throughout the weekend,” Edmonds police spokesman Sgt. Josh McClure said. The student making the claim “has since recanted,” McClure said. “He admitted to his family and the investigator that the incident did not occur and that no Edmonds police officer stopped him.”
While the mother of the teen involved retracted her claim on social media, McClure said that “the potential damage done to our reputation quickly extended beyond her original post.”
Noting that the allegations “have no basis in fact,” Edmonds Police Chief Al Compaan said that “it is frustrating and disheartening when some members of our community allow themselves to rush to judgment, impugning the integrity and reputation of our professional and dedicated public safety members who serve this community 24/7, a reputation built on integrity and trust.”
“This troubling chain of events is a clear reminder to us all: A lack of factual information combined with heightened emotions often result in erroneous conclusions and rarely lead to well-reasoned outcomes,” Compaan said.
“Even though it is frustrating to expend city resources in investigating incidents that never occurred, we understand that people make mistakes, especially young people,” the police chief continued. “We understand and respect that these types of concerns are important to every resident, as they are to us. Our agency, like the community we serve, is diverse in our makeup and we value the high level of support that we receive from the public.”