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Family Talk: Seven-Year-Old-Handcuffed and Interrogated by Police

Wilson Reyes was handcuffed and held for hours at the 44th Precinct station house in the Bronx on charges of robbery.

Step one of how to make a hardened criminal: handcuff a child to a bar on the wall of a police precinct over $5 that another child alleges he stole.

According to a New York Post report, Wilson Reyes was taken from his school, PS X114, to the 44th Precinct station house in the Bronx on Dec. 4 after a call of assault and robbery was phoned into the police.

The story goes that a student dropped $5 on the ground in front of Reyes and two other children and Reyes allegedly picked it up. When accused of taking the money, Reyes fought with the child.

And those two accounts added up to assault and robbery.

The details of how long Reyes was detained by police seems to be unclear with the Reyes family attorney, Jack Yankowitz, claiming Reyes was held for 10 hours and the precinct citing that the boy was taken to the precinct house some time after 3 p.m. and released around 7:45 p.m.

Whatever amount of time Wilson Reyes was held in the precinct house, handcuffed to a wall, was too much.

Reyes's school refused to comment on the grounds that the incident took place off campus, according to the Post.

Reyes was, however, picked up from his school when the police decided to take him to the station house.

What is not disclosed is who filed the report against the 7-year-old, resulting in the child being removed from his school by police.

Seth Acevedo is named as the child against whom the crimes were inflicted.

Acevedo's father, Santiago Acevedo stated that “there were always teasing him because of his weight." Acevedo added "sometimes he didn’t even want to go to school because of it,” when noting that his son had allegedly been bullied by Reyes.

It is always unfortunate when a child suffers at the hand of a bully. That is why parents, educators and those sworn to uphold the law must handle those situations in ways that will minimize the risk of the same unacceptable behavior happening again.

How handcuffing a 7-year-old teaches him not to be a bully is beyond me. Given, Reyes was not taken in for being a bully, but for suspicion of assault and robbery. But it seems the underlying issue here is just that, bullying.

The fact that police can go into an elementary school and take someone's 7-year-old child and handcuff them over a fight and $5 that are missing is unthinkable, sad and just plain wrong.

This is a failed attempt to handle a situation between young children - not teens, not young adults. I doubt Reyes learned any lesson other than to fear the police.

The Post report includes the fact that "legal papers say another classmate later admitted the theft."

Frances Mendez, Reyes's mother, took the now infamous photo of her son handcuffed to a bar on the wall of the precinct.

Mendez's reaction to the scene? “It was horrible. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”

Any parent would be shocked and livid to learn of what transpired that day. Kids should not be treated like criminals when their behaviors may cause for disciplinary action.

And, in this case, it may very well be a false accusation that forced this child to go through such an experience.

Seven-year-old children should look up to police as those that are here to protect them, not as people who will chain you to a wall when they think you've done something bad.

Young kids are developing and growing each day. Teaching them right from wrong is a part our jobs as parents. When that opportunity is taken away and replaced with a horrid act, one can only wonder what the long term effects of the incident will ultimately be.

Lena February 03, 2013 at 04:55 PM
Wilson Reyes ASSAULTED another child and took his money. Punching a child in the face and stealing his money is ASSAULT and Robbery. The only thing appalling about this story is the age of the perpetrator and the actions (litigious) of the --and I use the term loosely-- "parent." He committed two acts, both criminal one violent. Handcuffing him was not necessarily wrong given the violence. A parent should've been present while he was questioned. An investigation of HIS PARENTS should've been made seeing as THE PARENTS are a child's first teachers. Yes, Wilson had to have learned this behavior from somewhere. I guarantee that it was NOT learned from Sesame Street, Romper Room, Barney, a religious institution of any denomination and/or a classroom in any public, private or parochial school. It was most likely learned at home and now he will learn to blame --"the man", the city, "the system", "the state", any and everyone else BUT his parents (his first teachers) and claim "brutality", "violation of his rights", etc any and every- - and there will likely be more---time he does something wrong (and likely violent and criminal).
Harriet Brown February 03, 2013 at 06:58 PM
But, it could have been handled better. Handcuffs for a 7 year old, over 5 dollars doesn't seem appropriate, to me. Yes. He should be punished. But, not like that.
Lena February 03, 2013 at 07:28 PM
PUNCHING another child in the face in order to STEAL any amount of money is highly inappropriate. Cuffing a person who planned and carried out a violent act as well as a theft IS. What would you want done to him...taking away his X-box. Sneakers from Payless instead of Footlocker? A TIME OUT. Another "child" threw a 9 year old off a roof yesterday. My guess is he punched a kid or two in the face in elementary school too. Look at the OFFENSE not the age of the attacker. He didn't still a lollipop from a candy jar. He assaulted another child after he planned said attack. I wish the kid wasn't 7 years old too. I wish the whole thing hadn't happened. I am SICKENED at the actions of the 7 year old AND his mother; but not those of the police. Wilson Reyes' actions were unusually violent and unusual tactics had to be taken. It's not NYPD's or the faculty and staff at his school fault he's such a brat. It's his parents' fault. However his victim and most likely the rest of the school and (hopefully one day NOT) society must suffer because whatever punishment (if any) has not worked for him...

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