Parents of a 14-year-old student say their son was racially profiled by a man who pinned their to the ground with his knee on his back because he thought the eighth-grader stole his son’s bike. The boy’s parents believe that the man singled out their son because he is a ‘brown boy with afro hair, standing in a sea of light faces,’ while his friends are white. The parents also said that they will not let this go away quietly and plans to hold the man accountable for the incident. According to the boy’s parents, the 14-year-old boy was reportedly moving the other boy’s bike because it was blocking the pavement, and that he had his own bike with him.
The unidentified man, who is also an off-duty cop, is under investigation after he was caught on video pinning the 14-year-old boy to the ground and falsely accusing him of stealing a bicycle that belonged to the man’s son. In the video, the man can be seen kneeling on a teenage boy surrounded by his friends. Per reports, the unidentified off-duty officer claims the 14-year-old, later identified as eighth-grader Josh Nieves, stole his son’s bicycle, while the boy’s friends intervene to separate them and beg him to get off, WGN9 reports.
But, the boy’s parents, Angel and Nicole Nieves, believe that the man singled out their son because he is Puerto Rican, while his friends are white. Josh’s parents reportedly said: “We see the bias in an off-duty officer taking advantage of our brown boy, with afro hair, smaller in stature, choosing to take the law into his own hands with physical force a clear abuse of his position of authority.” According to the boy’s parents, their son was reportedly moving the other boy’s bike because it was blocking the pavement, and that he had his own bike with him.
In the video, the unidentified off-duty cop can be seen pressing his knee on the juvenile’s back while his friends attempted to intervene. Josh’s family also said that their son was racially profiled by the officer. His parents also believe their son was singled out from other kids present due to his darker skin. The whole incident was captured in full by one of Nieves’ friends.
According to the boy’s parents, their son was reportedly at the coffee shop with a group of friends when they discovered an abandoned bike resting on the pavement. Their son reportedly moved the bike, leading the officer to accuse him of stealing it, despite the boy having his own bike at his side. The unidentified man then restrained the eighth-grader by putting his knee into the child’s back. In the video, the off-duty officer can be heard saying, ‘It’s my son’s bike! He stole it!.’ One of Josh’s friends can be heard saying: “No he didn’t!”
The eighth-grader was shaken by this incident, his parents said. The unidentified man was confirmed to be an off-duty officer, the Daily Mail reports. The boy’s parents say their son was targeted because he was the only member of the group of a different ethnicity. The boy’s mother shared on her Facebook profile that she plans to file a formal complaint against the department in the near future.
“This adult did not use words, he used force. He used his hands. Grabbed our son’s wrists, body slammed him, then held him down with his knee to forcibly restrain him. Regardless of the circumstances, getting physical with a minor as an adult for any reason other than self defence is unacceptable. One minute, you’re cooking dinner… the next, you’re getting a call from your 14-year-old son, stumbling over his words through hysterical tears, saying, “Mom, please come pick me up.
And our sweet, God-fearing, honor student – who also happens to be a brown boy with afro hair – standing in a sea of light faces… Confused. Crying. Scared. Shocked. Would this have been done to our son if he was white? Taller? Older? To all the boys who were there defending our son – thank you. We champion you for your bravery, our family appreciates you more than you know, and we’re truly sorry you had to experience this.” the mom from Illinois reportedly wrote.
The mother believes that her son, who has long curly hair and darker skin, was racially profiled by the unidentified officer. She also said that she and her husband will not let this go away quietly and plans to hold the officer and department accountable for the incident. The police department released a statement and said that the bicycle belonging to the man’s son had supposedly been taken from a spot in the immediate area shortly before the incident. The police department is conducting an internal probe into the incident.