Police States Tend to Encourage Cops To be Bullying Thugs

Here, for instance, is hardened criminal Wilson Reyes, age 7, in a photo his mom snapped of him handcuffed in a Bronx precinct.

Instead of earning himself a simple trip to the principal’s office, a terrified 7-year-old boy was hauled out of class, handcuffed like a hardened criminal and “interrogated” by police for a grueling 10 hours — all over a playground dispute involving $5, his family is charging.

“My son was crying, ‘Mommy, it wasn’t me! Mommy, it wasn’t me!’ I never imagined the cops could do that to a child. We’re traumatized,” Wilson Reyes’ distraught mom, Frances Mendez told The Post last night.

The fascist goons who do this stuff are thugs on a power trip.  I hope they get sued, I hope the NYPD pays through the nose for this Soviet act of intimidation, and I hope they lose their badges for this.  10 hours of interrogation.  Handcuffing.  A seven year old boy.

“Imagine how I felt seeing my son in handcuffs!’’ she said. “It was horrible. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”

The bizarre overreaction by cops came after the child had been accused of swiping $5 from another student after school.

The money, which was supposed to be used for a school trip that never happened, had fallen on the ground in front of Wilson and two other boys, and one of them scooped it up.

Wilson was falsely accused of taking it, and he scuffled with one of the kids.

Officers showed up at PS X114 on Dec. 4 at about 10:20 a.m., and handcuffed and held Wilson in a room there for four hours. They then hauled him off to the 44th Precinct station house for another six hours of interrogation and verbal abuse, according to a $250 million claim against the city and the NYPD.

The boy protested his innocence, to no avail.

“Reyes was handcuffed and verbally, physically and emotionally abused, intimidated, humiliated, embarrassed and defamed,” the documents say. He was then charged with robbery.

Mendez said that she and her sister first went to the station house, they were told they couldn’t see her son.

When cops finally allowed the pair to see the boy, they found the panicked kid seated in a shabby chair with his left wrist cuffed to the wall, Mendez said.

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  • Tominellay

    A city’s police department exists to implement “policy”.

  • Tim in Cleveland

    The kid should have admitted to swiping $5 billion (or trillion). Then he would have gotten a bailout.

  • Will

    The New York Daily News has a slightly different version of the story. Perhaps this should have been handled differently, but people should not jump to conclusions without making sure they have all of the facts.

    • Mark Shea

      Perhaps? Give me a “reasonable” scenario for cuffing a terrified 7 year old or bullying him for 10 hours.

      • Will

        You did not read the other article? It is hard for anybody that was not there to know all of the facts. There are conflicting reports. Even the ten hours is disputed.

        • Mark Shea

          It should not have been ten seconds. He was a 7 year old boy.

          • Will

            Perhaps you are right, but we do not have all of the facts.

            • Mark Shea

              We have a photograph of a 7 year old cuffed. What else do you need? Why are you making excuses for this?

              • Will

                I am not making excuses. Do not believe everything your read or see.

                • Mark Shea

                  So your excuse for the kid cuffed to the radiator is “blame the media”.

                  • Will

                    “The New York Daily News has a slightly different version of the story. Perhaps this should have been handled differently, but people should not jump to conclusions without making sure they have all of the facts.”

                    I stand by my original post. Thank you, sir.

                    • Seamus

                      How about a link to the New York Daily News story, so the rest of us can judge for ourselves?

        • “joe”

          you may be right, will, but if you don’t supply a link don’t ask people why they didn’t do what you could have facilitated but did not. that’s an old internet trick and i’m impatient of it.

          • Will

            I find it hard to copy and past from my tablet. Here is is from my computer.


            • Jamie R

              How does this help us know all the facts? The police have as much incentive to bend the facts as the plaintiffs. It’s a subservient police-state mindset that assumes the cops’ version is all the facts and the plaintiff’s version isn’t.

              But taking just what the cops admit to be true – a 7 year old boy got in a fight with a boy two years older and twice his size, and the cops responded by handcuffing him to a radiator for nearly 5 hours and interrogating him without counsel or parents. New York’s criminal law apparently treats a 7 year old the same as a 17 year old. These are not marks of a society that keeps its cops in check.

  • “joe”

    every word of this post is spot-on, but remember that cops used to get away with worse in no small part because of media complaisance. i might think that things are better now than in previous eras, except that the rhetorical brainwash of the WOT has provided a deeper level of exculpation than has ever existed.

  • Dave Pawlak

    I don’t particularly care if one has “all the facts”. This is a seven year old boy. The matter should have been resolved in the principal’s office. If I were that boy’s parent, I’d be suing. OTOH, the school district’s response to a lawsuit may very well be, “Bring it on, sucka. We’ll drag it out in court for years.”

  • Lorraine Murray

    Mark, with all due respect, your headline is quite misleading, since one case, as discussed in your column, does not justify generalizing about all police officers, suggesting they are “bullying thugs.” Also, there is more to this case than meets the eye, since the New York Daily News mentioned that the boy was arrested for BEATING UP another kid and stealing from him. Where does the truth lie? At this point, we don’t have all the facts. But if the boy did beat up another kid, the situation should not have been resolved in the principal’s office, as Dave commented. Because the other kid probably was injured, and the school would legally have to report the facts.

    • Mark Shea

      I didn’t generalize about all police officers.

  • Naomi

    UM. No. I don’t really give a rat’s patootie if a seven year old punched another 7 year old. You STILL do not handcuff him and interrogate him for four hours, six hours, or ten hours. You just don’t. I mean, FFS, really? HE IS SEVEN. Robbery?? No. You want to give him ISS or detention for fighting? Sure. Do that. I don’t care HOW much the parents complain, it doesn’t justify treating a seven year old like a 17 year old! They do not have the cognitive reasoning and forward-thinking ability that a 17 or even 14 year old have.

  • GaryB

    I saw a documentary entitled “The War on Kids” recently. I highly recommend it. It shows how schools are being turned into prisons, with armed guards, metal detectors, cameras everywhere. And instead of things remanded to the Principal like it used to be, now they just call the cops and have kids arrested, yes even 7 year olds.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Lorraine, suppose the cops had put this 7 year old kid into a holding cell, with adult criminals? Would you have been okay with that? Does any 7 year old deserve this kind of treatment, whether he hit another kid, or not? Heck, it doesn’t even sound like he got the one-phone-call-to-his-lawyer, which even armed robbers, and accused murderers, get!

    Or is our social attitude now supposed to be that kids—even if they’re under the age of 10—deserve to be punished far more harshly than adult criminals, because they’re “bad?”

    As a final irony, it appears that this boy wasn’t the one who actually took the money, or acted up—some other kid confessed to doing it! So, he was innocent all along! But, still he was hauled in by the cops.

    Something is very wrong, here. This was a matter for the principal’s office, not the cops. (And do we really want the police wasting all this time and energy on schoolyard squabbles when there are real crimes being committed out there?)

  • Let’s be careful so as not to be unjust and create sympathy where little should exist. There is a bit missing here. Who called the police? They need to be just as ashamed to accuse robbery and assault over something like this. Why should the cops be the only ones to blame? This was a *team* effort.

    Also there’s the mystery of the four hour detention at the school (or was it at the school?). What policy permits that? The school doesn’t just get to wash its hands of these events.

    And it’s nine hours and 25 minutes, if the start and end times are reported correctly (itself a dubious assertion). Of course the parents’ assertion of 10 hours is only off by 35 minutes while Inspector Kim Royster’s assertion that the detention time was less than 5 hours is grossly misleading because she’s not counting as detention any time not at the precinct. NY City’s law department has a real gem in Kim Royster who succeeds to both misunderstand at what point do detentions start as well as being horribly tone deaf.

    There are generally rules on interrogating juveniles. New York’s rules can be found here:
    They were grossly violated in this case, unless something stranger happened during those missing hours between 10:20 AM and 3 PM and that part of the story has yet to be told. Young kids aren’t supposed to go to precinct.

  • merkn

    Suing for millions only punishes the taxpayers. If you think about this, this is a gross error in judgment. The persons responsible should lose their jobs or be suspended without pay for a significant amount of time. That is not only fair but it actually addresses the problem. It is the one thing that will never happen. The teachers that adequtely failed to supervise the children, the administrators called in to decide how to handle it who called the police in the first place, and the police who cuffed him – – yes, even if he did give the other kid a fat lip, and even if he was only cuffed for four hours – – all lack judgment and are incompetent. All are in unions. They will point to the idiotic list of rules and protocalls that give cover to their imbecillic behavior. Our publicly funded “professionals” entrusted with protecting the “children” have turned a playground fight between second graders into a million dollar federal case. Even if the kid never sees a dime the case will drag on for years. Protection of the incompetent is the true evil of the police state.

    • Jamie R

      The taxpayers hired the cops. The taxpayers should be punished. If taxpayers don’t want to pay for this, they shouldn’t hire cops that do this. If a Walmart employee injures you, and you sue Walmart, Walmart shoppers foot the bill.

      • Dave Pawlak

        As I mentioned in my previous post, the one drawback is that school districts are quite happy to spend the taxpayers’ money to drag out litigation, draining both the taxpayers and the peons who dare to challenge them.

        • Jamie R

          Then the taxpayers shouldn’t hire those board members.