Just days after leaked documents revealed NYPD officials spied on Muslim residents and mosques, calling them “terrorist organizations”—which gives them greater latitude to conduct surveillance—a group of Bronx teens say they were assaulted by police officers for no reason at all.
It began on Monday, August 26 when Lamis Chapman, 12, and Khalia Wilson, 14 were playing handball at 9:30 p.m. at a local park. According to the sisters, police told them to leave because the park was closed. As they were being escorted out, Khalia claims an officer grabbed her from behind, put her into a chokehold, and threw her to the ground.
“They said they asked for ID. I didn’t hear them,” Khalia said.
Lamis said she told the cop to get off her sister, and the officer’s female partner threw Lamis to the ground. As they lay on the ground, the girls, who are Muslim, said the cops ripped off their hijabs, a Muslim headscarf.
“They didn’t say anything,” Khalia added. “I kept saying, ‘I’m 14! What are you doing? We’re not bad kids.'”
A crowd quickly gathered, with many pleading with police to let the girls go, the sisters said. Police called for backup, and within moments, dozens of cops swarmed the scene.
The girls’ brother, Shytike Wilson, 15, saw the cops straddling his sisters from his window and raced downstairs.
“I asked them why my sisters were in handcuffs,” Shytike said. “They charged me, picked me up, and slammed me on the floor.”
Jonathan Harris, a bystander, also found himself in police crosshairs during the incident. When Harris heard the girls’ screams he ran to the park to help, but upon seeing the officer on top of the teens he took out his phone to record the scene.
Harris, a college student, says he was snatched up by cops for trying to document the incident.
“Come here, you little motherf—er,” the cop said, according to Harris. “You like recording?”
Harris claims he attempted to run away, but was chased by police. When they caught up with the teen, Harris says an officer threatened to break his arm if he didn’t hand over his phone.
Predictably, police have a different account of the incident.
According to a NY Daily News source, police claim “the officers told the kids to leave (the park) when they began acting disorderly.” Police allege they were escorting the girls out of the park when Harris grabbed one of the girls away from the officers.
Harris was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental function, no charges appear to have been filed against the teen girls. Police claim two officers were hospitalized for scrapes, bruises and sprains.
After the incident, Lamis and Khalia were understandably shaken.
“They treated us like criminals,” Lamis told the Daily News. “I was shocked because they’re supposed to be helping us,” her sister Khalia added.