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Georgia Police Pull Gun On 11-Year Old Building A Tree Fort (Video)

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Georgia Police Pull Gun On 11-Year Old Building A Tree Fort (Video)

Georgia Police Pull Gun On 11-Year Old Building A Tree Fort (Video)

A fifth-grader in Henry County, Georgia, says he was terrified when a police officer pointed a gun at him and his friends while they were building a tree fort in a wooded area behind his home. Omari Grant, 11, told WSB-TV Channel 2 that he and his friends often play in the woods and were cutting off some branches to make a fort when a neighbor called the police to complain about their activity.

Omari said that two officers arrived at the scene, one with his gun drawn, and ordered him and his friends to lie down on the ground. Omari said the officer with the gun also used foul language and made him feel scared. "I was thinking that I don't want to be shot today, so I just listened to what they said," Omari said. "I learned that they're supposed to help you not make you feel scared to even come outside."

Omari's mother, Janice Baptiste, said she was shocked when her son told her what happened. She filed an excessive force complaint with the Henry County Police Department, which is now investigating the incident. "If it was justified then we'll deal with it, if it wasn't we'll address it as well," said Sgt. Joey Smith with the Henry County Police Department.

The neighbor who called the police, Edgar Dillard, said his wife was concerned about the safety of the children and the environment. He said they were "chopping off tree limbs" and creating "falling hazards, tripping hazards, all types of hazards." He said he was surprised to hear that a gun was pulled on a child.

No arrests were made in the incident, but Omari said he learned a lesson about respecting nature. He also said he hopes the officer who pulled the gun on him will be held accountable for his actions.

You can watch a video report of the incident here.

While some may see the tree fort as a nuisance or a danger, others may argue that it has benefits for the children's development and well-being. According to experts, building and playing in forts can foster creativity, imagination, problem-solving, and independence in kids. It can also help them connect with nature and develop physical skills such as balance, coordination, and strength.

According to Mark Lund, who created, forts are opportunities for kids to have unstructured, un-curated playtime. He says that forts are not only a way to entertain kids on rainy days, but also a great stand-in when their other toys lose appeal. They epitomize imaginative play[^1^].

Lund also says that something all forts have in common is that kids drag their favorite things into them and decorate their own space, which builds creativity. He suggests that parents allow kids to build on their own without tearing apart the house, of course and watch them playing and creating their own narratives[^1^].

Another advocate of fort-building is Nancy Striniste, a landscape designer and author of Nature Play at Home: Creating Outdoor Spaces that Connect Children with the Natural World. She says that forts are one of the most important types of play spaces for children because they offer them a sense of ownership, privacy, and refuge. She says that forts can be made of anything from cardboard boxes to branches to sheets and that they can be built indoors or outdoors[^2^].

Striniste also says that forts can help children develop social skills such as cooperation, negotiation, and communication. She says that when children build forts together, they have to decide on a plan, share materials, and work as a team. They also have to respect each other's boundaries and preferences when they play inside the fort[^2^].

Tree forts, in particular, can have additional benefits for children's physical and mental health. According to Nellie McKay, a pediatric occupational therapist and founder of Rhythms of Play, tree climbing is an excellent gross motor activity for physical development. She says th


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