January 31, 2013
The family of a 7-year-old Wilson Reyes is suing police and New York City for $250 million after police allegedly handcuffed and interrogated him.
Reyes was accused of taking $5 of lunch money that fell on the ground in front of him and getting into a fight with a fellow student at Public School 114 in the Bronx.
Responding to a complaint of assault and robbery, police took the boy to the local precinct where officers allegedly handcuffed and interrogated him for 10 HOURS.
"Imagine how I felt seeing my son in handcuffs," Wilson's mother, Frances Mendez, told the N.Y. Post. "It was horrible. I couldn't believe what I was seeing."
The claim, filed by family attorney Jack Yankowitz, accuses the NYPD of false imprisonment, physical, verbal, emotional and psychological abuse.
Not to mention the deprivation of Reyes' constitutional rights.
Robbery charges against the boy were later dropped, and the NYPD, although it disputes the accusations in the suit, is investigating the incident.
Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne told ABC News:
"While the lawyer's claims are grossly untrue in many respects, including fabrication as to how long the child was held, the matter is nonetheless being reviewed by the Internal Affairs Bureau."
New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio was critical, however, of the NYPD in a statement posted on the New York City Public Advocate's website.
"Seven-year-olds don't belong in handcuffs," he said, chastising the system in general. "As a parent, I wouldn't stand for this in one of my kids' schools."
"Our over-reliance on the NYPD as a disciplinary tool traumatizes our young people, sows distrust in our communities and drains vital city resources away from responding to genuine crimes."
"This has to stop."
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