Onlookers question use of force as Brookfield police restrain, arrest 13-year-old boy

NOW: Onlookers question use of force as Brookfield police restrain, arrest 13-year-old boy

BROOKFIELD, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Some people are outraged after two teen boys were restrained by Brookfield police.

Viral cell video shows a large police presence just moments before officers take down a teenage boy in the parking lot of Burlington Coat Factory Tuesday evening, June 30.

Ebonee McKinney was there to witness it. "Scrawny little boy, it took a while to get off of him," she said. "We kept begging, check his eyes, check his pulse, make sure he's still alive."

Brookfield police say they were flagged down by a loss prevention officer who gave them information on two minors allegedly involved in shoplifting at the store.

Police later caught up with the stepbrothers, ages 13 and 16. At first, things were calm, but as seen in police body cam video, once an officer went through a backpack and found alleged stolen items like a belt and socks, the situation escalated.

The officer tried to arrest the 13-year-old, but he repeatedly resisted.

At one point, an officer placed her knee over his back. The department says it was protocol. "That was to keep his arm from going back under, it's not a lot of pressure, it's not like we're kneeling and putting full body weight on there," Captain Bryan Franckowiak said. 

Afterwards, officers say the young boy spat on them and one of them was headbutted. 

Onlookers say police were too aggressive. "Especially when there were 6 or 7 on top of him at this point," McKinney said.

The department says the boy was not injured, despite 5 officers holding him down. "Unfortunately, use of force is not pretty. We tried to deescalate, we tried to use professional communication, and sometimes it just doesn't work."

An officer suffered minor injuries.

The 13-year-old might face felony charges including retail theft, resisting and obstructing causing injury, battery to law enforcement and expelling bodily fluids.

The 16-year-old was later released at the scene after showing his receipt. 

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