Stealing lunch money can get a child handcuffed and interrogated by police, if the claims in a family's lawsuit against the New York Police Department are true.
The parents of Wilson Reyes, 7, say police handcuffed their son, charged him for robbery and interrogated him for 10 hours after someone reported the child for assault and robbery. The crime? Another student reportedly accused Reyes of stealing $5 in lunch money that had fallen on the ground. The kids fought over the money and someone called the police.
The story seems like a case of revenge on lunch money bullies taken way too far. The image of their 7-year-old terrified at the police station enraged the boy's mother, who has launched a lawsuit for false imprisonment and several kinds of abuse, including violating Reyes constitutional rights.
None of the claims in the lawsuit are proven.
Police told journalists many of the claims in this case are "grossly untrue." They say Reyes came to the station at 3 p.m. and left by 7:45 p.m, according to the New York Post. The NYPD dropped Reyes robbery charges and says Internal Affairs will investigate the incident.
New York City's Public Advocate, an official that acts as a watchdog for city services, spoke out against police in an online statement:
“Seven-year-olds don’t belong in handcuffs. As a parent, I wouldn’t stand for this in one of my kids’ schools. Our school system's overreliance 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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