Local attorney: "It could be profiling" - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local attorney: "It could be profiling"

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- A Chattanooga woman is demanding answers after she says her son was racially profiled, held and questioned over a fight at Hamilton Place Mall Sunday.

"I'm mad about it. I'm upset. My 11-year-old hasn't slept since Sunday night and my 12-year-old, he keeps telling me, 'they are going to come and get me,'" says Takilya Thurman. "Everybody was screaming and hollering for security, nobody ever showed up."

After watching everything unfold, Thurman and her three sons, ages 16, 12 and 11 headed out the door.

"As we were getting in our car I noticed that one of the security guards there, one of the mall cops, came and tried to grab my 12-year-old son. I said excuse me what are you doing," Thurman explains.

According to police, a witness told security Thurman's son was a part of the fight and possibly had a weapon.

However, Thurman says it all comes down to profiling. The suspect in the fight was a black male, wearing a blue shirt. Her son was also wearing blue.

"You need to get information, investigate and go find your suspect. Don't just point some kid out because he's black," Thurman says.

Channel 3 talked with Attorney Jerry Tidwell on the issue.

"It could be profiling. I think it depends on the circumstances," says Tidwell.

Tidwell says officers do have to have parental consent to question a minor or in this case, probable cause.

"Like an injury or their clothes are torn or they're obviously out of breathe or sweaty. There would have to be some other indication other than the presence of a possible gang color and certainly their race," Tidwell says.

Officers explained they checked Thurman's son because there may have been a weapon involved. However, so far no one has been arrested or charged.

Mall officials would not go into detail about the incident, but did say they are taking it very seriously and are working closely with Chattanooga Police and mall security.

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