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DC Council member Charles Allen: Kids handcuffed on National Mall for selling water

Park Police handcuffs kids on the National Mall for allegedly selling water. (Photo courtesy of Tim Krepp via Twitter @timkrepp)

D.C. Council member Charles Allen sent the following letter to the U.S. Park Police Chief after receiving reports of kids being handcuffed for selling water on the National Mall on Thursday.

According to the council member, the three boys were young African-Americans.

"I can't help but think how the reaction by these same officers might have varied if different children had set up a quaint hand-painted lemonade stand on the same spot. While still the same violation of selling a beverage without proper permits and licences, I doubt we would have seen little girls in pigtails handcuffed on the ground," Council member Allen stated in part of the letter.

The council member goes on to say how he doesn't believe the actions were warranted and they "speak beyond this one incident."

U.S. Park Police issued a response Friday saying the four individuals (three teens and one adult) were detained by the Park Police officers for "illegally vending on the National Mall in the area of 12th St. and Jefferson Drive, NW."

According to Park Police, when the suspects were asked if they had a vendor's permit to sell the water, the suspects said they did not. A vendor's permit is required to sell items on the National Mall.

Police say it was determined the adult who had been obtained was not associated with the illegal vending and was released.

The three juveniles (one who was 16 and two who were 17) were released to the custody of their legal guardians, along with a container of their items, police say.

Police say all parties were released with a verbal warning, and were not cited or arrested.

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