NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Reports of police misconduct aren’t just being filed by adults.
The city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board says it found several instances of kids as young as 8 being stopped for doing nothing more than playing,
Getting stopped by police can leave a lasting impression, especially if you’re a kid, reported CBS2’s Kevin Rincon.
“We found these instances where young people, children are horseplaying an they find themselves in the precinct – in some cases in handcuffs. That doesn’t need to happen,” said Fred Davie, CCRB chair.
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Davie says they fully investigated over 100 complaints made against the NYPD over 18 months, starting in January of 2018. What they found were examples of children as young as 8 being frisked, held up at gunpoint, and handcuffed.
“Kids are kids. They do kid things, from horseplay to swordfights in the streets, even childhood fistfights in the streets. We all did it. That should not be criminalized behavior. That’s childhood behavior,” Davie said.
The vast majority of the complaints were made by kids who are black and Hispanic. For Hernan Carvente-Martinez, a Latino from Queens, his very first interaction with police came at the age of 12.
“I accidentally kicked the ball way too hard and it landed in traffic,” he said. “We were trying to explain it was an accident and cops were called into the situation.”
He says he was help up against a fence and questioned. From that day forward he felt differently about police.
“There wasn’t a sense of safety whenever they were around. It was very much someone is about to get in trouble,” he said.
Years later, he joined a gang and served time for attempted murder. He says he’s got his life together now, but wonders if things could have been different.
“It was sad. I had to meet the person who turned my life around in prison when I was already serving time. My first interaction 12-years-old with the NYPD might have been my saving grace if I had a different conversation and a different interaction with police,” he said.
The CCRB is calling for change. That includes tougher punishments for misconduct of kids and better training, with a focus on race.
The NYPD says it has accepted all of the panel’s recommendations.
“A top priority Commissioner Shea has set for the NYPD is to reimagine doing all we can to protect and serve New York City’s kids. After careful review, we accept each of the CCRB’s thoughtful and constructive recommendations — some of which are already in the process of being implemented and all of which will strengthen our new youth strategy,” an NYPD spokesperson said.