Mother Says Son Wrongfully Detained, Handcuffed At High School Basketball Game

Jan 24, 2020, 10:43 PM | Updated: Jan 25, 2020, 1:36 pm

EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah – The mother of a student who was handcuffed at a high school basketball game said her son should never have been detained.

LaTanya Stephens said her son and a couple of his teammates were asked to move to different seats for being disruptive while watching Ben Lomond High play Cedar Valley High last week.

“He asked her ‘why do I have to move? I’m not doing anything wrong, what am I doing?’” Stephens said.

She said that conversation went on without his coach being alerted to it, and it prompted a call to authorities.

“It went right from him to the police and six minutes later he was detained,” she said.

In a video showing police handcuffing her son outside the gym, you can hear him saying “I didn’t talk at anyone, I didn’t do anything. I was just watching the game.”

Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith said there was much more to the situation after the students were asked to move.

“Their behavior, the things that they were saying — there was a complaint made by several different people,” he said.

As for how the police dealt with the call, Smith agreed better steps could have been taken.

“I don’t think this ever should, we should have ever called for a deputy to respond in this,” he said. “It should have been handled at a school level.”

Stephens questioned if this could have been racially motivated. Officials with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said they didn’t find any evidence of that. Regardless she said this is a learning opportunity.

“We don’t even have to make it black and white,” she said. “Let’s make it right and wrong because this is definitely wrong.”

Her son was not charged with a crime. The family is meeting with Cedar Valley High School next week to talk about de-escalating procedures to prevent something like this from happening again.

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Mother Says Son Wrongfully Detained, Handcuffed At High School Basketball Game