Park Ridge family says off-duty Chicago cop pinned 14-year-old boy on the sidewalk and pressed knee against his back
The family said it believes the incident last Friday evening was racially motivated. The boy is of Puerto Rican descent and the man was white.
A Park Ridge family says their 14-year-old son was pinned to the sidewalk, a knee pressed against his back, by an off-duty Chicago police officer who thought the boy had stolen his son’s bicycle.
The boy’s mother, Nicole Nieves, said she believes the incident last Friday evening was racially motivated and the family has filed a complaint with Park Ridge police. Her son is of Puerto Rican descent and the man is white.
The man told responding officers that he was an off-duty Chicago police officer, according to Park Ridge police spokesman Tom Gadomski.
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The Chicago Police Department said it has launched an internal investigation into the case. The Sun-Times is not identifying the man because he has not been charged.
“We’ve talked to our three Puerto Rican boys about this moment for years — but you can’t emotionally prepare for this happening to your own child… then it does,” Nieves wrote in a Facebook post. “We can’t possibly put into words how we’re feeling — disgust, anger, frustration, outrage, fear, sadness.”
Nieves has posted a video showing the man with his knee pressed against the back of her son outside a Starbucks in the northwest suburb. Nieves’s friends are seen surrounding the man and yelling at him to get off the teen. “He’s taking my son’s bike,” the man is heard saying.
The friends yell back, “No he’s not,” as they help pull Nieves from the ground.
It was unclear why the man thought the boy was stealing the bike. In her post, Nieves said her “son’s hands were on the bike as he was moving it out the way…. while he was in possession (of) his own bike, right next to him.”
Nieves said her son was crying hysterically when she ran to the scene, where there were four police cars, six officers and “at least 100 people around.”
Gadomski said Park Ridge police were called to the scene of a “fight in progress” about 5:20 p.m. Friday in the 1005 block of Northwest Highway. He would not release any other details and said the investigation was continuing.
Nieves’s family believes their son was singled out among a group of white friends. “[He’s] an honor student, he is a three-sport athlete, he is an active member of our local church, he is a stellar boy,” his father Angel Nieves told the Sun-Times.