Published January 31, 2013
NEW YORK - A 7-year-old Latino boy was handcuffed and falsely accused of stealing $5 from a schoolmate, according to a $250 million lawsuit filed by his family.
Wilson Reyes' mother, Frances Mendez, told the New York Post that her son was "interrogated" for 10 hours on Dec. 4. The family is suing the New York Police Department and New York City.
"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.
Wilson's family claimed the boy was falsely accused of stealing $5 that was dropped on the ground and picked up by another student, leading to a physical altercation between him and another child, according to the Post.
That child gave a different account, telling the New York Daily News that Wilson and another boy approached him and both reached into his pocket before Wilson struck him in the face.
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 Post 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 charges on Dec. 26. A spokesman declined to comment.
School officials say it occurred off school grounds. Police had no immediate comment.
The other child involved in the altercation, 9-year-old Seth Acevedo, told the Daily News that Wilson had a history of attacking him.
"Wilson was the worst bully," Seth told the News. "He would call me names. He would punch and kick me. I wish they never took the cuffs off of him."
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.