Thin Blue Line Decals at

Boy's family sues NYC over police handcuffing incident.

A 7-year-old New York City boy's family has filed a $250 million claim against police and the city after saying he was handcuffed and falsely accused of stealing $5 from a schoolmate.
Wilson Reyes' mother, Frances Mendez, told the New York Post that her son was "interrogated" for 10 hours on Dec. 4.
"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," Mendez said.
The conflict stemmed over $5 that had been dropped on the ground near where Wilson and some other boys were. One of the students picked up the money, and Wilson was accused of taking it, leading to a physical altercation between him and another child, the Post reported.
The court claim, filed by attorney Jack Yankowitz, said Wilson was handcuffed and held in a room at P.S. X114 in the Bronx for four hours, then taken to a precinct house. He allegedly was held there for six hours and charged with robbery.
Mendez told the paper she initially wasn't allowed to see her son when she went to the station. When she did get to him, she saw that he had been cuffed by one wrist to the wall, and she snapped a photo of him.
"My sister and I started crying when we saw him," Mendez said.
The Post said the city dropped the charge Dec. 26. A spokesman declined to comment.
School officials say it occurred off school grounds. Police had no immediate comment.


  • edited 30 Jan 2013
    Not sure on the age limits of charging a child in NY but this whole article has poor choices all throughout it! 250M, c'mon get real.
  • Reading this entire article really just made me think "really?"

    Even if it WAS him.. at the age of 7 the child doesn't know any better, and really wouldn't until about 13. I've seen kids of the same age grab things from a retail store and simply walk out with it without a second thought, not because they wanted to 'steal' it but because they wanted it and didn't understand it cost money. Just difficult to explain to a child of that age.

    Regardless bad decisions made all around by the school, department, ect... I can't really believe that they had a 7 year old taken in by police over 5 dollars disappearing that was DROPPED and anyone could have grabbed. Seriously... it's a 5 dollar bill on the ground - would you go to every single person you saw asking if they lost money? Would they say no, tell the truth or simply say it was me?

    Just sad. If it was him then sure he should be punished(no dessert, no video games, or something along this line) and explained to why it was wrong, but cuffed and taken to the station? If it was my son you'd better believe I'd be more than a little pissed off.

    I will say 240m is a tad extreme... probably looking to settle out of court for a fraction of that.
  • OK so lets talk facts here (I do have to laugh at Jax above who says that kids don't know that stealing is wrong untill they are 13 years old. My four year old is pretty clear on it ). The facts are straight forward here, arresting officers showed up at that school to find the child already handcuffed for four hours and being detained. Since charges were being filed they had no choice but to go through with the arrest and leave it to the ADA to decide the outcome. Once at the station house the child would be held separately from other people (usually in the Auxiliary Police Officers room. If flight was a serious consideration handcuffs may be used, mainly because they were responsible for the kid and if he walked off all hell would break lose. These would be the most loose fitting cuffs ever, a good three to four notches from normal setting. The parents would be notified immediately, as would the desk sergeant. The kid would be offered food and drink and a chance to call their parents. No one would dare interrogate the kid without the child's parents present. There is no way the desk sergeant would allow the charge of robbery unless some serious physical force or a weapon was used to obtain the $5 alleged to be stolen. So many questions need to be asked. The first being what did the kid really do to get that five dollars? The second and most obvious is, if your kid was locked up at school for four hours with the school calling you, and then later the police are calling you for another six hours saying your son is at the police precinct, where the hell are you? That is ten hours of people calling you saying your kid is in trouble and come please because no one can talk to your kid and resolve this without you being present and ten hours later you are still not there? What school does not have emergency contact information for parents? What seven year old can't tell police how to contact their parents? It seams to me that while the police were probably being nice joking with the kid and keeping him entertained and calm waiting for a parent (been there done that) the parents were leaving their own child as long as they could thinking about the money they can get from a frivolous lawsuit.
  • This is embarrassing. The biggest factor in being a cop is common sense. No where will you find common sense in handcuffing a 7 year old for a non violent crime and that is non violent with the authorities. Only in NYC where you can be arrested for drinking a large soda (talk about lack of common sense).
    Why if it occurred off of school grounds was the child taken to the school and cuffed instead of taking him directly to the station or home? Why is there a 10 hour lapse between detainment and a parent being present? I hope the city of New York has deep pockets because it sounds like they will need them.
  • Tim I agree w you 100%...
    Couldn't have been written any better , I bet they were searching for the kids guardians for a long time , the last thing a cop wants to do is keep a child in custody for a long period of time. Let's be realistic here , any MOS knows this and when kids don't have an emergency contact number the cop is stuck waiting with the child till a guardian is found. The problem is that theres a bunch of people looking for a law suit and they prefer to use their children as an example to benefit of the city. How about the city calls ACS an start an investigation on why this child's guardians were no where to be found ? God forbid this child left the officers sight and walked out the pct , parents would say LAW SUIT... Damned if you do , damned if you don't cuff the child. It's things like this that the media feeds into but when a cop puts his life on the line for people every day , it's the last thing you hear about. Let's stop reading the media and get the facts before we judge a situation because we all know there's always more then what it is .
  • He deserved it...But his parents should not sue anyone for his actions... I dont know why people make a big deal out of this? I know stealing 5bucks is crazy.. But it is showing this young man how to be a responsible person and not be a bully.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Thin Blue Line Decals at

Contact Us