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Peoria Juvenile tackled by private security officer for theft, later arrested by PPD

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A video of a young boy being apprehended in Peoria Friday evening continues to circulate the web with thousands of views and a few hundred shares, begging the question "Is this officer's behavior appropriate?'

Included in the video, filmed on Facebook Live by a bystander who parked and got out of their car because they were concerned, were several officers, a juvenile and a relative of the woman filming.

It took place on 3200 N. Dries Lane in the adjacent parking lot between Landmark Recreational Center and Walmart

The initial officers who responded were from Pinnacle Security Innovations, a private company contracted by Landmark.

Scott Helms, the last officer from Pinnacle to arrive on the scene, said they were called to Landmark after roughly fifteen juveniles surrounded a woman and her young daughter.

Helms said during the situation, the boy stole the little girl's phone, leaving her in tears, before running off. Another Pinnacle officer chased him toward the Walmart parking lot where he tackled the kid to the ground.

At this point, the bystander's son can be seen on video, arguing with Helms saying 'You wouldn't have done that if he were White?' to which Helms responded "I don't care what color he is, they carry guns!"

Helms later explained in a conversation with 25 News Reporter Lauren Melendez, that his officer didn't know what race the kid was when he took off running because he had on a hoodie; further explaining that the priority was to find the suspect.

Helms also added, as the boy was on the ground, he reached for his pants pocket several times which is why they thought he had a gun. They later learned the boy was reaching for the stolen phone.

Helms said at no point were handcuffs put on him either. The Pinnacle office detained him until Peoria Police officers arrived and took over and Helms said excessive force was not used, reiterating that the way the security office handled the situation was standard procedure for apprehending a suspect.

A spokesperson for Peoria Police said PPD officers were dispatched after the boy was tackled, adding that when they arrived, he was standing and being escorted toward their squad car (seen in the video).

Peoria Police explained the kid was subsequently arrested for theft over $500 and resisting and obstructing an officer.

The mother of the little girl confirmed it was an iPhone that was stolen and returned.

She did not press charges, adding the little boy was released to the custody of a family member.

PPD could not confirm that information.

Lauren Melendez

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