PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Kids selling water outside the Philadelphia Zoo ended with a police takedown and a teen in handcuffs. The 14-year-old wasn't the only one arrested. Now, video of the incident is going viral.
Two Philadelphia police officers took a 14-year-old into custody outside the Philadelphia Zoo after being summoned there by zoo security about kids selling water in the street.
"Trying to really ascertain what prompted this whole incident whether or not we got reports kids were running out in traffic," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross told FOX 29.
The Facebook video went viral as zoo security stopped officers and told them the kids were selling water in the busy streets on behalf of a local football team. When an officer tried to talk to the 14-year-old, police say, he walked away—seconds later he was being handcuffed on the ground.
"Why would you get physical with the children?" asked water vendor Gregory Muhammad.
"Sometimes we get in awkward situations. It's the nature of the job we have, the unfortunate part of the job we have. Sometimes we get summoned for jobs that really aren't in our purview," Commissioner Ross said.
Internal affairs is now investigating the incident. Commissioner Ross says one thing is clear about selling water or soliciting donations.
"Whether you like it or not it's done all over the city. What we have an obligation to do is be consistent about it," the commissioner said.
"There's no crime and there's no one being victimized. This is real water—it's cold," Muhammad told FOX 29.
53-year-old Gregory Muhammad was also arrested when he intervened with police. He says he was tased and taken to the ground.
"They violate the number one principle of non-aggression that is do unto others as you would have done unto yourself," Muhammad said.
Police sources say the kids involved were selling water without a permit and are not believed to be working on behalf of the football team they were allegedly raising money for. The investigation is ongoing.
"They have to concern themselves with public safety. Their own safety. A lot of times their training to deal with situations is very hands on and aggressive," Muhammad added.
"If it's done in the northeast and it's done in the northwest and other parts of the city and we don't have that same type of enforcement. We have an obligation to look at ourselves and evaluate whether or not that's something we need to be doing," Commissioner Ross said.
Both the 14-year-old and Muhammad were released from custody with disorderly conduct citations. Sources say the DA's office refused to approve other charges on Gregory Muhammad.
A spokesperson for the zoo did not return our calls.