• Sat, Feb 22 - 11:14 am ET

Kid Charged With Felony For Snowball Because Apparently There Is No Other Crime In Chicago

A boy in Chicago has been arrested for doing what I suspect we’ve all wanted to do at some point: throwing a snowball at a cop. According to DNAInfo, the unnamed minor allegedly threw a snowball, hitting the officer on the arm around 3:20pm on Wednesday. On the ARM. I’m not suggesting that it’s okay to assault an officer. I’m just saying that I think it’s ridiculous to accuse a 13-year-old of felony assault for throwing a damn snowball.

To make things weirder, the kid, who is in eighth grade at George Leland Elementary in South Austin, Chicago, claims that the snowball didn’t even hit the officer, but instead hit the squad car, and that he’s being wrongly accused because he didn’t even throw the snowball. It was the school dean Lenard Robertson, who identified him as the culprit, but the boy claims he was mistaken. Local residents are reportedly up in arms and think the cops are totally over reacting. Because of course the are.

According to the boy’s mother:

“He kept trying to tell the officer that he didn’t do it but they didn’t believe him,’ the mother told the Tribune. It’s sad, he’s only 13. I’m so upset, he’s never been in trouble before. It’s his first case.”

The boy is currently under suspension  for five days because of the incident, and he is set to appear in juvenile court on March 12.

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  • Muggle

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the dean had a big role in the felony charge. Public schools rely way too much on police. I can see a cop being really annoyed and being kind of a dick to a kid throwing a snowball at him (I mean, would you want to work out in the cold and have snowballs thrown at you?) but a felony charge? That’s excessive. And this is including the fact that kids are getting arrested and jailed more and more for stupid kid shit at school anyway. You wanna know why the US has such a high incarceration rate? Principals, assistant principals and deans now are lazy-ass thugs who want to terrify kids into misbehaving. So they find the most cynical, thuggish cops they can to break up fights and shit like that. In loco parentis, my ass.

    Of course this is the Chicago police we’re talking about, and cops in large cities like it are known for being thugs themselves…

  • Jessie

    ………

  • Zettai

    Having grown up in Chicago , I am not surprised. I met some very nice cops through a certain program, but I have also met some very mean ones on the streets and around school. It taught me to be frightened of any one I do not know personally, aka 99.9% of them.

    The police are definitely overreacting here, but they are also trying to teach a hard and true lesson: that living in the Chi, you don’t mess with cops. Ever. In Chicago you cannot get away with the sort of stuff I have heard about others doing to cops in other places. I know this personally, from the news, and from word-of-mouth. You cannot disrespect them in any way, including with a little thing like a snowball.

    There is an old rumor that goes around about the show “Cops”, and it’s that they never have and never will film in Chicago because of what goes down there. I think it’s true.

    • Smishsmash

      Is it just awful that my first thought was “we’ll they didn’t turn around and shoot him. So that’s a real step up considering the way cops are acting these days.”

  • personal

    I agree that it’s ridiculous to charge him with a felony. On the other hand, it is slightly suspicious that he knows the snowball didn’t hit the police officer but claims he’s not the one who did it.
    And it would matter to me if there was malicious intent or not. I mean, we can’t have it be allowed now for gangs of teens to run around the city wacking unsuspecting patrolmen with snowballs.
    But a felony? No way.I’d really rather see the cop befriend him and make him come to the station and get to know the others…. Can we not write a made-for-TV movie like that?

    • jane

      Right, I totally agree with you that felony is over the top. At the same time, there’s lots of different ways to “throw a snowball.” A friendly lob at someone who’s expecting it is a lot different than a tightly packed ball of ice. And if someone hit me in the upper arm with a snowball, I’d probably guess that they were aiming at my head and missed. And I also bet that those cops see an awful lot of 13 year olds who are doing some pretty terrible/illegal stuff, and are therefore inclined to think that this was a more malicious act than was perhaps intended. If your 13 year old threw a snowball at a police officer, wouldn’t you expect him to know better? That’s just dumb. (I’m ignoring the he said/he said of who threw it, because that could be true in an case, regardless of age).

      I think the “get to know you” approach would just be so much better here. Not every cop/civilian “learning experience” has to be a confrontational one. I think there’s still an opportunity here for both the cops and the kid to make it right. After all, he still has to go to court.

  • Jen

    He’s 13, of COURSE he said it wasn’t him. I teach upper elementary kids (10-11) and I’ve watched them do things with my own eyes that they then deny. He knew he was in trouble and denied it, because he’s a kid and that’s what kids do. I agree that the charges are silly, but I’m not inclined to say that it wasn’t him based on his word alone.

  • Magrat

    Here’s the thing though. Yeah, the cop is probably a dick, but cops don’t actually charge you with anything. They arrest you and take you in, and it’s up to the prosecutor to charge you. What the hell is going on in the Chicago DA that they have time/money for candy-ass shit like this?

  • Dreiko

    So wait, if the kid didn’t throw the snowball, who did? Did it materialize out of thin air? I expected the kid to say who threw it if it wasn’t him, I don’t know why he didn’t.

    • brebay

      Uh, so he doesn’t get his ass kicked? Or maybe there were a bunch of kids and it came from behind him? Being charged with a crime doesn’t place the burden of proving who did do it on the accused.

    • Dreiko

      Showing another person to be guilty is a pretty good way of showing you’re innocent though.

    • brebay

      I guess, if you’re ever in an Italian court.

    • Rachel Sea

      Except that if you are 13 and you snitch on a peer so that they get a felony charge, you are basically flushing your own head down the toilet, and getting shoved into your locker every day for the rest of your school days. If he didn’t do it, and he knows who did, I would expect him to hold out, and try any other means possible to get off.

  • ddrew2u

    It just occurred to me that — if a 13 year old child throwing a
    snowball at a police officer can be charged with felony assault — then,
    all snowball fights between kids may be illegal. I guess we could
    legally excuse some snowball fights as contact sport like boxing — it
    sounds like it should be consensual (you think I’m kidding; that’s the
    legal follow up; ask a prosecutor, once the idea gets into their heads
    you never know).

    I remember working my paper route in the snow and dreading other kids
    firing snow balls at me back in the Bronx in the early 1960s. One kid
    and I exchanged fifty shots with before he gave up — you couldn’t quit
    – leaving my hands all wet and cold through the gloves. Never occurred
    to naive me to call the cops.

    So, I guess that, with our new legal insight, if anyone witnesses kids
    throwing snowballs at each other they may call the police (be funny to
    actually try this, citing the newspaper story) — who can come and
    investigate whether the contestants know each other, whether the battle
    is consensual or whether one side is the innocent victims.

    (If you hit cop with a marshmallow would that constitute an assault —
    or maybe a prank — whatever happened to Judge Judy’s concept of “de
    minimus” injury: the law doesn’t concern itself with trifles?)