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Today in My History

2000: I Gotta Get a New Hobby
Finding the Bare Bones
2002: Hat Hair
2003: Fool Me Once, Shame on You
2004: 'Tis the Season
2005: What Was I Thinking?
The Heck with PETA
2007: Better Than Aspirin
2008: 100 Things I Like
Whiling Away the Hours
2010: Gorsh, Folks
2011: The Long Road Home
2012: Misty Water-Colored Memories

Bitter Hack
: 4/3
"'Master Harold'...and the Boys"

Books Read in 2013
 Updated: 3/31

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mail to Walt


4 April 2013

handcuff.jpg (19140 bytes)There was a news story, in January this year, which told of a 7 year old boy accused of stealing $5 from another student on his Bronx school playground.  He was handcuffed by NYPD and taken to the police station, where he was interrogated for more than five hours. 

At the time the article was printed, his family was suing the city for $250 million. Court documents say Reyes was "handcuffed and verbally, physically and emotionally abused, intimidated, humiliated, embarrassed and defamed."

The mother took this photo of her son, still handcuffed at the police station.

Anderson Cooper's show today was a rerun and when I saw the report of this boy, it reminded me of Ned's nefarious past, about which I have not spoken here before.

We were sitting at home one day.  I don't remember how old Ned was.  He was probably in 5th grade because his class was studying German at the time, I believe. The doorbell rang and a local police officer was there to talk with Ned.   He said he was there to question him about the "extortion."   Apparently, he said, Ned had threatened another boy and had taken away his lunch money.

We expressed shock.  We were like all those parents who can't possibly believe our son had done anything wrong.  Our son?  Of course not. 

The police officer was insistent.  Ned had reportedly beaten up this kid and taken his money. 

We called Ned downstairs.  At the time Ned was not exactly The Hulk.  Very slight, very wiry, very un-threatening.  The police officer took one look at him and realized that the situation could not possibly have been the way it was reported to him.  He asked Ned about what had happened.  Ned said that he and this kid had a bet on the definition of a German word, Ned won the bet, and the kid paid up.  Simply that. 

The police officer believed his version of what had happened and left, with an apology.

We told Ned that he should not be making money bets and that was the end of it.  I thought.  It turned out that the kid had reported to his parents that he was not able to eat lunch because Ned had taken his lunch money away.

The next day I had a call from the mother of the kid.  She said her son wanted to say something to me.  She put him on the phone and I felt so bad for this kid, whose parents were in the background screaming at him to apologize to me for lying about Ned.  He eventually apologized but without the slightest degree of sincerity about it.

I often think about that kid and wonder what happened to him.   After his "apology" the mother got on the phone crying.  She was talking about how difficult it was to raisse a child who was approaching puberty.   She was so afraid of all the sexual temptations that were going to be facing him. She went on and on and on for nearly half an hour.  I hadn't done any La Leche League counseling in several years, but I brought back all the active listening skills I once had to talk with her, all the while, listening to what steps they had taken so far to keep their son pure and unsullied, in a world filled with sexual films, and sexual TV and sexual music lyrics, thinking about that poor kid and his parents' fears.

I heard later that they had taken him out of the public school and put him in a local Christian school, where presumably he would be taught better about the dangers of the flesh. 

No charges were ever brought against Ned.

I don't know the outcome of the NewYork case, but I hope they collected a bundle.  It may be too much to hope for $250 million, but surely they deserve a bunch. 

If Davis were a big city and we were a low income family, this incident could just as believably have happened to Ned, even though his situation (apparently like that of the boy in NY) was completely innocent.

Scary stuff.  At least the police didn't shoot him.


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