Harlem cops forcibly dragged a young boy from a subway stop at 145th Street Friday night. His crime? Reportedly selling chips and candy on the train.
Police counter that they were called to the scene by the train conductor after they “observed a male child of about eight years of age by himself exiting and re-entering train cars over the course of several stations,” according to Gothamist. Detective Denise Moroney said the boy’s parents weren’t immediately spotted until officers “conducted a canvass” and found them “several train cars away from where the boy was found.”
Witness Shaquan Jenkins told Gothamist that what he saw was the boy moving through the subway car selling snacks shortly before officers confronted him.
He says a woman who identified herself as the boy’s mother repeatedly told police “that’s my son” yet officers proceeded to put their hands on him. Jenkins shared a video on Twitter which showed the upset boy trying to free himself from the police officer’s grasp.
— StayAway_FromDrugs😍🧡♿️ (@justwubbzy) April 11, 2020
“We’re gonna let your son go when you speak to me,” one officer reportedly told the boy’s mother, according to Gothamist.
“I’m speaking to you now!” the woman replies.
“You’re not speaking to me,” the officer says to the woman.
Jenkins said other people started to gather around and were trying to help the boy by gathering up his snacks, which dropped on the platform. But said police threw the candy in the trash.
CW: Police violence.
This is the second part of the cell phone video. pic.twitter.com/uLx6gH9A7M
— Rebecca Kavanagh (@DrRJKavanagh) April 12, 2020
“They looked like kidnappers; like they were trying to kidnap the little boy,” Jenkins told Gothamist. “I felt outraged. It’s a little boy. Can’t they talk to him on his level and say it’s not safe, go home? Why did they need three officers to take him to the precinct?”
In the police statement, Moroney said officers found the boy’s parents but said they were “uncooperative and threatened the police to release the boy to them.”
Police took the boy and his parents to Transit District to further investigate before releasing the child to his mother and an adult male. The adult male was also issued a C-Summons for disorderly conduct, according to the statement.