A Bronx mother is suing the New York City Police Department for $250 million on behalf of her 7-year-old son, claiming that the boy was mistreated in a local precinct after he was falsely arrested and accused of stealing $5 from another student at school. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Is it going too far? A photo, seen above, shows a 7-year-old handcuffed to a pole on a wall inside the 44th Precinct station house in the Bronx.
The family of Wilson Reyes said they're outraged. They've hired a lawyer to sue the New York City Police Department and the city.
The boy's mother did not want to speak on camera, but his father, Wilson Reyes, did.
"It is a difficult situation," Reyes said through an interpreter. "He is a bit affected, and he says he is sad."
Police said a 9-year-old boy accused the child and another young boy of beating him up and stealing $5 after school in late November.
The attorney for the 7-year-old and his family said the police showed up at school days later and put him in handcuffs, then took him to the precinct, where he was handcuffed to a pole for six more hours.
Parents at P.S. 114 said police should have contacted his mother immediately.
"I feel that they could have called [the mother] and let her know what her child had done and they could have had a mediation with the other kid's parents and basically let him know that that was the wrong thing to do," said one parent. "But to get him locked up over $5, I feel that's nonsense."
"Just call the mother first and let the mother know what's going on," said another.
The family attorney said the boy was falsely arrested, verbally abused and humiliated. He said robbery and assault charges have been dropped and another student admitted to taking the money. The Reyes family plans to sue for $250 million.
In a statement, the NYPD said, “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 department's Internal Affairs Bureau.”
Law enforcement sources who know the arresting officer said he didn't mistreat the 7-year-old and followed police procedure.
Parents said the situation is definitely a leaning lesson and a reason for parents, students, the schools and police to talk about how to handle future cases of student violence.