NEW YORK — NYPD officers handcuffed an 8-year-old boy and a 14-year-old boy after they spotted the boys with a group running with sticks on their way home, according to a report released Monday.
The boys had been with a group of black and Hispanic children that day in March of 2018 when they were stopped, told to get up against a wall and frisked by police, a Civilian Complaint Review Board report found. Two boys were taken to a stationhouse. The crying children were processed for disorderly conduct.
Until that day, the 8-year-old boy dreamed of a career as a police officer, his mother said.
Their story is one of more than 100 fully-investigated complaints involving young New Yorkers and police reviewed by the CCRB, an independent municipal agency that investigates allegations of NYPD misconduct, between January 2018 and June 2019.
NYPD officers handcuffed, arrested and pointed guns at young New Yorkers of color for playing, running, sitting on stoops, carrying backpacks and high-fiving, the CCRB found. Nearly 65 percent of 112 complaints involved male children and teens of color.
As protests against police misconduct and brutality continue, the NYPD needs to rethink how officers interact with young New Yorkers, CCRB Chair Fred Davie said.
“Sadly, after years of witnessing news about police misconduct and possibly experiencing it themselves, even the youngest among us have an awareness of the tension that too often exists between the police and civilians,” Davie said.
Workers with the CCRB also polled approximately 200 New Yorkers aged 10 to 18 and found just over half avoid police officers in their neighborhood. Only 15 percent said they always felt safe calling police for help.
“The CCRB is aware that the NYPD believes it is working hard to protect the youth of New York City,” the report reads. “Many young people, however, especially young people of color, feel targeted and mistreated by members of the New York City Police Department.”
After analysis of the complaints, the CCRB issued a number of recommendations to the NYPD.
“The NYPD should train all police officers on the differences between policing adults and policing youth,” the report reads. “There is currently minimal to no information on how police officers are trained on dealing with young people.”
An NYPD spokesperson said Comissioner Dermot Shea had made it a top priority for the department to “reimagine” how they interact with 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,” the spokesperson said.