A terrible instance of injustice happened on July 1st right outside a Starbucks in Park Ridge, Illinois. The incident occurred between a 14-year-old teenage boy of color and a white off-duty police officer. The situation ended with the middle-aged man using all of his force to hold down the boy, by placing his knee right onto the boy's upper-middle back.
The off-duty police officer claims that the young teen had stolen his boy's bike and because the teen was acting suspiciously around a bike that looked similar to the one stolen he mounted an informal investigation and arrest. Once the officer interrogated the child, he didn’t seem convinced that he was innocent and then proceeded to ‘take him down’ by force. The officer claims that the much smaller and younger suspect was resisting arrest and needed to be handled with greater force than normal.
On the other hand, the boy and his family believe that he was racially profiled in this altercation and deserves justice for the crimes of the off-duty officer. For instance, the boy is of Puerto Rican and African descent, so he was the only person of color in his friend group and the officer (who was white) picked him out especially. The moment of informal arrest was caught on tape and in it, you can clearly see that the boy didn’t pose any real threat and barely resisted the officer. Also, it was never proven that the bike was the one stolen in the first place, so the evidence for the actions committed by the officer doesn’t seem justified.
In an interview, the suspect's mother (Nicole Nieves) was quoted as saying “we see the bias of an off-duty cop taking advantage of a brown boy…and choosing to take the law into his own hands with physical force… a clear abuse of his position of authority, an authority meant to protect my son.”
The teenager is a straight-A honors student, a three-sport athlete, and a member of his local youth ministry. He is alive and unharmed for the most part, but he will have to live the rest of his life with this memory of injustice and abuse from the society that was meant to protect him. As of right now, he and his family are filing a lawsuit against the officer involved in the altercation.
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