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'Sorry for the misunderstanding': Arlington police held unarmed teen at gunpoint, family wants answers

Arlington Police said officers were responding to the apartment complex after a man called 911 reporting a man with a gun.

ARLINGTON, Texas — A local teen and his family are trying to cope with what they’re describing as a traumatic experience with Arlington Police officers.

“I was very terrified. I was so terrified, I couldn’t move my body. I was standing like a statue the entire time,” Rykeem Johnson, a 16-year-old Arlington resident, said after police approached him with guns drawn on Monday.

The teen said he’d just arrived home and was preparing to head out for a swim when a couple of officers stopped him.

“They told me to put some weapon down. I didn’t know what they were talking about,” Rykeem explained.

In a statement, Arlington Police said they were dispatched to the complex after a neighbor called 911. The neighbor told the dispatcher he’d been looking through his door’s peephole and had seen a male at his door wearing a hoodie and holding a firearm that was partially covered by a towel.

“The 911 caller advised that he’d been receiving threats from a person over social media and believed the person at his door with a firearm was the same person making the threats,’ the police added.

The unarmed teen, still confused and paralyzed with fear, said the situation with police only escalated as more officers began showing up and shouting orders. Rykeem said he thought he was going to be killed outside his home.

“I’m conflicted. But I’m more pissed off than anything,” said Dr. Relius Johnson, the teen’s older brother and guardian.

Johnson rushed to the complex after getting a call advising neighbors to shelter in place.

“It was at least 30 cars. Four snipers. There was a lot of police presence,” Johnson explained.

Johnson said he didn’t realize the guy police were surrounding was his brother, at first. The man was able to call the frightened teen.

“My brother answered the phone. I burst into tears saying come save me they are about to shoot me,” Rykeem said.

Johnson said, at first, officers ignored him when he told them they had the wrong guy.

“Right now I’m just happy that he’s here, but I’m still really upset about the whole situation,” Johnson explained.

It was an upsetting situation that left the family traumatized. The incident has, unfortunately, forever changed one teen’s view of the police.

“The only thing they said to me was 'sorry for the misunderstanding. We apologize.' That wasn’t enough for me. They had me at gunpoint, scared for my life,” the teen said.

For now, the investigation into the police response at the complex is ongoing, according to Arlington Police Department. Officers say they will also continue to look into the original claim and follow-up messages from the 911 caller.

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