DETROIT (WWJ) – The family of a Detroit boy who was allegedly handcuffed and arrested for a crime he did not commit is now suing the Detroit Police Department.
Attorney Karri Mitchell, who represents the family of 11-year-old Taiya Nelson, said the youngster was taken into custody Sunday on suspicion of stealing a TV from a house 13 blocks away from his west side home — after his mother insisted to officers that he was asleep in his bedroom at the time.
“They’re not supposed to question him without his mother, and they’re in there trying to interrogate a young boy,” Mitchell told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Ron Dewey and other reporters Wednesday. “They’re gonna beat the mess out of him if he doesn’t tell the truth?”
Krystal Williams said her son, who was supposed to go to summer camp this week, was taken away in handcuffs by officers who entered her home against her protests.
“…The police officers — they were so rude — were like, ‘We don’t need a search warrant. We can come in your house’,” Williams said.
Taiya claims he was threatened by officers, had a panic attack while in custody, and was not provided his medication.
In court the following day, all charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence.
“They accused me of something I didn’t do. They kept trying to make me tell on myself… I told them I didn’t do it,” Taiya said. “So, they kept talking about, ‘Did you take the TV?”
In a statement released Wednesday, Detroit police said officers had probable cause to detain the boy, and acted in accordance with the law.
According to the statement, “mitigating evidence” that police received early that morning at the Sixth Precinct led them to believe Taiya and another juvenile were involved in a home invasion that occurred in the 6700 block of Greenview.
“Subsequent to an investigation, Officers effected the detention of two juveniles in regards to this crime,” the statement reads.
“There has been some concerns raised by the family of one of the juveniles in question as to the legality of this detention. Preliminary review of the circumstances surrounding this incident indicate that the Officer’s actions regarding this detention were in fact in accordance with the law as well as Department Procedure.”