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Police deny viral video shows ‘child soldiers fitted with riot shields and batons and rifles’

Atlanta police have been forced to deny a viral video posted to Twitter shows ‘child soldiers’ standing guard, insisting the clip is of ‘adult members’ of the force. 

The footage, taken at Lenox Mall in the city, was widely shared online Saturday night. Band @foxwoundband wrote: ‘Atlanta has deployed a child militia at Lenox Mall fitted with riot shields and batons. What the actual f*** is going on?

In the video a man can be heard saying: ‘This is honestly weird. There’s literally like a 12-year-old out here, 13, maybe 14.’ 

But a spokesman for Atlanta police told Insider the images show ‘adult members of the Georgia National Guard’. DailyMail.com has contacted officials for comment.  

John Chafee from the Atlanta Police Department’s Public Affairs Office told Heavy.com: ‘The picture you provided…depicts adult members of the Georgia National Guard.’  

The footage, taken at Lenox Mall in the city, was widely shared online Saturday. ‘There’s literally like a 12-year-old out here, 13, maybe 14’, the man filming says

But Atlanta police say it shows 'adult members of the Georgia National Guard'

But Atlanta police say it shows ‘adult members of the Georgia National Guard’

In a statement the Georgia National Guard said: ‘To become a service member in the Georgia National Guard you are required to be of legal age and that is 18 years old (17 with parents consent). 

‘The rumors of us having child Soldiers to assist local law enforcement in protecting lives and property is false.’

The anonymous man who filmed the clip told Insider it was taken in the early hours of Saturday morning. He said one of the cops ‘looked like such a baby’, 

Tense protests over the death of George Floyd and other police killings of black people grew Saturday across the US.

The protests began in Minneapolis following Floyd’s death Monday after a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck until he stopped breathing.

By Sunday morning the footage had been shared more than 69,000 times and liked by more than 210,000 accounts. 

Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, the alderman for Chicago's 35th Ward, shared a second, similar clip believed to have been filmed in Minneapolis

The National Guard in Minnesota said 'all of the activated members of the Minnesota National Guard are aged between 18 to 63'

Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, the alderman for Chicago’s 35th Ward, shared a second, similar clip believed to have been filmed in Minneapolis. The National Guard in Minnesota said ‘all of the activated members of the Minnesota National Guard are aged between 18 to 63’

Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, the alderman for Chicago’s 35th Ward, shared a second, similar clip believed to have been filmed in Minneapolis.

He called that footage ‘child abuse’. 

He tweeted: ‘It appears the state of Georgia, or someone with access to uniforms and guns, has deployed child soldiers to confront protestors in Atlanta. 

‘Whoever is responsible must be held to account.’

One officer looks to be shorter than the others and the camera focuses on that person. But Instagram user freebandz.sj, who shared the footage, told Forbes had called the cops children as a ‘joke’. 

And the National Guard in Minnesota said: ‘I can confirm that all of the activated members of the Minnesota National Guard are traditional, fully-trained Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen, with ages currently ranging from 18 to 63.’

People protest in response to the police killing of George Floyd on Saturday in Atlanta, Georgia

People protest in response to the police killing of George Floyd on Saturday in Atlanta, Georgia

Tense protests over the death of George Floyd and other police killings of black people grew Saturday across the US. Atlanta is pictured Saturday night

Tense protests over the death of George Floyd and other police killings of black people grew Saturday across the US. Atlanta is pictured Saturday night 

Demonstrations in Atlanta turned violent Friday, and police were arresting protesters Saturday on blocked-off downtown streets.

‘Quite frankly I’m ready to just lock people up,’ Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields had said at a news conference.

‘Yes, you caught us off balance once. It’s not going to happen twice.’ 

Derek Chauvin, the officer who held his knee to Floyd’s neck, was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. 

But many protesters are demanding the arrests of the three other officers involved. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk