NEW YORK - The family of a 7-year-old boy is suing the New York Police Department and the city of New York for $250 million. The boy's family says police officers handcuffed and interrogated the boy for 10 hours after a scuffle over lunch money at his school.
According to a report from ABC News , Wilson Reyes reportedly got into a fight with a fellow student in December at their school in the Bronx after he was accused of taking $5 of lunch money that had fallen on the ground. Police went to Public School 114 to respond to a complaint of assault and robbery. Reyes was allegedly handcuffed and interrogated at the police station for 10 hours, the lawsuit claims.
"Imagine how I felt seeing my son in handcuffs," Frances Mendez, Wilson's mother, told the New York Post . "It was horrible. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.".
The lawsuit accuses the NYPD of "false imprisonment" and "deprivation of Reyes' constitutional rights," in addition to physical, verbal, emotional and psychological abuse.
Robbery charges against the boy have been dropped, according to the ABC News report
The NYPD disputes the accusations in the suit but is in the process of investigating the incident.
"While the lawyer's claims are grossly untrue in many respects, including fabrication as to how long the child was held, the matter is nonetheless being reviewed by the department's Internal Affairs Bureau," Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne told ABC News in an emailed statement.
ABC News posted criticism from New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. Blasio listed his critical remarks of the the NYPD in a statement posted on the New York City Public Advocate's website.
"Seven-year-olds don't belong in handcuffs," he wrote. "As a parent, I wouldn't stand for this in one of my kids' schools. Our school system's over-reliance on the NYPD as a disciplinary tool traumatizes our young people, sows distrust in our communities and drains vital city resources away from responding to genuine crimes. This has to stop."
ABC News says calls placed to the school where the incident took place were not returned by the time of its report.