Cops Completely Overreact, Handcuff And Interrogate 7-Year-Old For Hours For Allegedly Stealing Five Dollars

shutterstock_86474341I believe in strict discipline for children when they are in the wrong – but this is ridiculous. A 7-year-old Bronx boy spent 10 hours in handcuffs for allegedly stealing five dollars from a classmate.

There are two sides to every story, of course. The handcuffed boy, Wilson Reyes, claims that the five dollars was dropped on the ground and picked up by another student. That student told 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.”

Who knows what really happened here. Maybe Wilson is the bully this child claims he is. But I don’t care. I don’t think appropriate discipline tactics for stealing five dollars includes handcuffing a grade school-aged child  for 10 hours.

“Everything was done properly,” the cop source said. “He was arrested for a robbery. He was taken to the precinct and put in the juvenile room. His parent was allowed to see him.”

Babying the boy wasn’t an option, the second police source added.

“He had to be handcuffed — he was a prisoner. If we didn’t handcuff him and he ran out the front door, then we would have had an escaped prisoner on our hands.”

The source said charges could not have been filed against a child 6 and under, but kids 7 to 17 can be charged as juveniles.

An “escaped prisoner on our hands.” Seriously? Call me crazy, but if that was my child I would flip out. It turns out his parents are flipping out – and suing the New York Police Department and New York City. For $250 million. Now I just think both sides are nuts.

I’m confused by this whole thing. I remember kids fighting when I was in school. I don’t ever remember cops being called. There has got to be more to this story. The school claims the altercation took place off school grounds. If that is true, why was held by the school for hours before police took him into the precinct? All charges against the boy were dropped a few weeks later. Apparently not soon enough to escape the wrath of litigious parents.

Both sides are so ridiculous – I don’t even know which one I’m on.

(photo: Alexander Rath/

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  • Terry Steed

    I would like to ask the author of this article if she did any investigation or made any inquiries on the facts/circumstances of this case, before she parroted other rants, and simply fanned the flames of anger heaped down on the officers…did you take the time to read/view the followup article from the same newspaper, this time four reporters were used to get the “REAL” story. A video of the young victim is included, that will bring tears to your eyes, as this young fellow shows his emotions over this everyday event…perhaps a nice followup, along with some useful information about dealing with a victim of bullying would be helpful. Before this lad turns to suicide to break out of his horror.

    • Guerrilla Mom

      Maybe you didn’t notice the use of personal pronouns all over the piece – but everyone is entitled to an opinion and mine is that handcuffing a 7-year-old for hours on end is wrong.

    • Terry Steed

      Would anything change your opinion. Would knowing that this is just one of many aggravated robberies this lad has done to his classmate’s. How about the informationthat he tried using force against the school staff, (to facilitate an escape) prior to the officer’s arrival. He was cuffed to control his attempts to fight his way free. The fact that the school tried for almost four hours at the beginning to reach the Mother without success. After being taken to the precinct, he contiued to be out of control and a run risk. The fact that by hooking him to a wall instead of putting him in lockup with grown criminals, was looking out for his welfare. So was not just letting walk away because the police at that point are charged with his safety. Did you actually watch the video of the young victim crying his eyes out over what this punk has been doing. Are you aware that initially the mother refused to respond to pick her son up, and that she was the one that made his stay in custody a long one….that she finally responded to get him, when told that if she did not, he would have to be transferred across town to a juvenile facility. That the Mom then probably figured that this distance for her to travel would be worse for her. I’m in complete agreement that you are entitled, I embrace that right. I also realize the author finished the piece in a quandry as to which way her decision would fall. Please understand I am not trying to pick a fight, but I would appreciate your telling what the officers should have done then..since you say they were wrong.

    • chickadee

      Absolutely you are entitled to express your opinion on this, and the usual response to such news is a sympathetic one. The way I read Mr Steed’s comment, though, is that perhaps you make your comment without knowing all of the information about the case, such as the fact that he was not held for 10 hours at the station, and that he was violent with school officials and with officers.

    • chickadee

      Is this the article to which you are referring?
      It adds a bit more to the story, and I would be willing to bet that the victim was bullied because of his size. Poor kid.

  • Lindsey

    Schools are responsible for students from the time they leave home on their way to school until the time they get home after school (at least in CA; I don’t know if it is the same everywhere). If a student participates in any illegal activities during that time (including theft and assault) the school has to handle it even if it occurred off school grounds and outside the scheduled school day.

    • Terry Steed

      Lindsey, I admit that I do not know for certain what the policy is for California is. My opinion is that this all inclusive responsibility does not exist. School’s are not equiped to handle investigations for crimes committed on or off campus by students. They may also have a legal obligation to report some of those activities you group into your conclusion. For example a sexual assault. School officials are bound by law to report. As a parent, I would not approve of a school staff member investigating and adjudicating a crime, if my child was the victim. Additionally, if a student went off campus (after school as you suggest) and committed a theft at a 7-11, do you actually believe that the school would be the ones to respond and investigate the case. School’s are for teaching children, not investigating crimes.

    • Terry Steed

      sorry about any spelling errors, I’m using a very small device to write these and sometimes my fingers don’t do what I hope they will…..

  • Terry Steed

    Yes it is chickadee… thank you re-posting the link. To slightly repeat myself, I am not jumping on the author of the piece written for your site, she did report both side of the issue and left it up to the reader to make up their own mind. She even asked, “if it were your child what would you do”. Having said that, one of your sister sites CafeMom’s contributor, was over the top, (in my humble opinion) in berating the actions of the officers. I am a retired LEO and after retirement I spent about 7 years operating a non profit MSN website called “Ask the Lawman”. A website dedicated to helping people. A place where folks could go to ask simple questions, for example, why did that officer ask me those question…to the much more difficult questions…from Mother’s that had tragically lost children to homicide, trying to seek some closure or understanding. The reason I came here to comment, is because I see these articles doing little to educate or give understanding to the event…it seems that their soul purpose is to bash the police, and fan the flames of distrust. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to post. I would appreciate any comments or questions you may have.

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