Extreme law and order


Stephanie Thomson, Staff Reporter

In December, while most of us were sitting in class, watching the clock and praying about the test we didn’t study for, a seven-year old child in the Bronx was handcuffed and interrogated for ten hours over the issue of a few dollars.

A student of Public School 114, Wilson Reyes was reportedly involved in a fight with another student over five dollars, which Reyes was accused of taking.

The police were called to the site on reports of assault and robbery. Reyes was then taken to the police department, where his mom had to watch him handcuffed and witness an interrogation that went into the night and didn’t end for 10 hours.

Charges were later dropped. But for Reyes, the event is far from over. He endured false imprisonment, verbal and physical abuse. But while those may be closed doors now,  the emotional and psychological abuse likely suffered could affect Reyes for the rest of his life. No doubt he will have hostile feelings toward his school and perhaps a massive fear of police.

It is incomprehensible that a scuffle between elementary classmates was taken so far, by leaders and mentors, teachers and protectors. There is no way of knowing whether the money was actually picked up by Reyes, or maybe kicked by passing students, or taken by someone else. Even if he did take the money, there is no way to justify punishing him in such a way. If five dollars were on the floor in front of us, how many of us wouldn’t pick it up? I know for a fact I would. And I would never even have the slightest concern that I might be imprisoned and cross-examined about it. But that’s exactly what happened, to a child ten years younger than me.

What does this say about our culture and nation now? Are we so willing to become obsessed over money and justice, that we are willing to completely shun mercy, sympathy, or even realistic penalty? Do our government and law enforcement authorities have no better issues to apply their time to, than to spend an entire day grilling a child about $5? I would think that officials of the Bronx, with 1167 crimes per square MILE, compared to the national median of 39.6–would have more dangerous, violent, and important issues to fight.