Cuffed Child

Frances Mendez isn’t pleased about the treatment her 7-year-old son received on December 4th at the hands of New York’s finest, that she filed a $250 million dollar claim against the city and the NYPD. Frances’ son, Wilson, was accused of playground robbery. Allegedly, he bullied a boy into giving up $5 that was supposed to be used for a field trip.

According to the New York Post, the money fell to ground and someone swiped it. The fingers pointed to Wilson, even though he denied it. Four days later, instead of being dragged into the principal’s office, the 7-year-old was detained in an empty classroom for four hours, before being taken into custody at the 44th Precinct station. Wilson was then charged with robbery.  Frances stated by the time she arrived to the precinct she wasn’t allowed to see her son, but when she finally saw him, he was handcuffed to a wall.

Court documents state, “Reyes was handcuffed and verbally, physically and emotionally abused, intimidated, humiliated, embarrassed and defamed.”  “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,” Frances Mendez told The New York Post.

But not everyone believes Wilson is just an innocent victim. Wilson apparently has a history of bullying Seth Acevedo. Seth’s father, Santiago Acevedo, says his son has always been a target by Wilson and other students.  “They were always teasing him because of his weight. Sometimes he didn’t even want to go to school because of it,” Santiago Acevedo, 63, told The Post.

“Wilson was the worst bully,” said Seth, 9, in an interview Wednesday with the Daily News. “He would call me names. He would punch and kick me. I wish they never took the cuffs off of him.”

The NYPD stands by their claim that the incident was handled like all other incidents involving minors:

We responded to a 911 call of a robbery and assault … Eventually, [Wilson] was taken back to the precinct and placed in the juvenile room … He was charged with robbery. The allegation was that he punched the kid and took his money. He took the money forcibly. The kid came into the precinct a little bit after 3 p.m., and he was out by 7:45 p.m … That’s standard for a juvenile arrest.

Although the charges were eventually dropped, and another student admitted to the theft, the Mendez’s attorney, Jack Yankowitz, still isn’t pleased with the incident. “It’s unfathomable, what the police did. The whole thing sounds so stupid. They were interrogating him like he was a hardened criminal,” Yankowitz said. “If you have a child, a nephew, can you even imagine this happening to them?”

Do you think this treatment was extreme for a 7-year-old? Or was he just a bully that got taught a lesson?

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  • thinkpink

    Respectfully anthony comments like yours are exactly what I think is wrong with the black community. We are raising a generation that doesn’t fight and actively ask society to right its wrongs against us. Instead we tell our youth they live in a society that will always be against them and as a result should live fearfully and on the defensive. What happened to our leaders? If our ancestors didn’t stand up to America’s wrongs we wouldn’t have the opporunities available to us now. However it seems we have lost our voice. We don’t demand to be treated equally or fairly anymore. Instead we teach our kids that they are destined to a life of inequality and should change their behavior accordingly rather than challenge the system that enacts this inequality in the first place.

    • Anthony

      I think you miss my point also. I am very aggressive when it comes to fighting for the rights of my people. I also call out knuckle headed behavior when I see it. Too many times I have seen us make excuses for clearly criminal behavior or we overlook it if it coincides with abuse by authorities. My point is that it is equally important to carry oneself in a way that does not lead to getting caught in the legal system for unnecessary bad actions.

      The reality is that black boys are seen like bear or tiger cubs: we are cuddly when we are small; but suddenly we get too big, and the world is afraid of us. I know what it is like be 14 years old, but 5′ 10, 256 lbs. and the world sees you as a man. In your mind, you are a kid, but the world sees you as a large black man. I grew up in a much more forgiving environment than Wilson Mendez is living in, and it was not easy for me.

      I know for a fact law enforcement can be brutal and racist, but I also know that intelligent behavior and law abiding can blunt a great many possibilities or friction.
      At the same time, law breaking provides a racist LEO with the perfect opening to crack black heads.

    • My dear…. lets keep it real…. I live in Bedford Stuyvesant and I see young brothers and sisters acting up not wanting to do the RIGHT thing every day.. I talk to kids on my block some choose to listen and some don’t ending up in juvenile centers. Black and Brown people need to understand a couple of things these kids need to know at an early age that their negative actions may lead them up to jail or even worse the grave. The parents or the single parent also has to want the child to do better, so that is where you may have give that child tough love. Look if my child stole that money from that kid , I WOULD make him give himself up to the police!!! yes… i would and he would understand that this is not a game if you do not understand your consequences you can up up here in 15 years!!!

  • thinkpink

    It’s an AMAZING book and should be required reading for all people of color

  • Anthony

    Thinkpink, I never said getting arrested would scare Wilson Mendez straight. I said his mother needs to tell him to change his ways, or he should get used to handcuffs. I can understand his mother not wanting him arrested, but she needs to understand that Seth’s folks have every right to call the police on her son if he is not going to stop acting like a bully or thug in training. Ms. Mendez needs to be just as mad at her son’s behavior as she is mad the police.

  • Anthony

    If your kid is involved in bad or criminal behavior, the worst message a parent can send is that the kid is a victim of the system, even if that is the case. Priority one has to be putting your child on the right path.

    No matter how mad I would be at the authorities, getting my kid to change his ways has to be job one.

  • Nnaattaayy

    Sorry Ms. Mendez but your son looks guilty af

    • The mother looks guilt too…..just saying..