New York City is getting safer, much, much safer. Murders were at their lowest last year since we've been recording them in the 1960s. Crime in general is much better and the city is more hospitable and has lost the fear-inspiring quality that so enveloped it in the 1970s and 1980s. Yet, there is a cost to this safety, and I know there must be a better way. The fear is still there, but it is being directed at us from the police, and you know something is wrong when the police think it is a good thing to handcuff five and ten year-old children.
From The Gothamist:
Imecca Burton, her mother, and civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel held a press conference in front of Police Headquarters yesterday to decry the handcuffing of 10-year-old Imecca, who was handcuffed by police in front of PS 25 where she attends elementary school. Police officers witnessed a fight on her school bus and in the ensuing events Imecca was handcuffed. Witnesses said that Imecca was swearing, kicking, and screaming, which is why the cops cuffed her. They were removed once she composed herself. The 10-year-old said she was afraid that she was going to jail and would never get out. "I never thought I'd see my brothers and sisters again," the New York Post reports. The Post labels Imecca Burton as "disabled" when describing her handcuffing and later elaborates that she has attention deficit disorder and dyslexia. Norman Siegel plans to sue the city on her behalf.
The incident happened just two days before the restraining of five-year-old Dennis Rivera, who had his hands cuffed behind a chair after punching his teacher and slapping an assistant principal in the face (the kindergarten kid weighs 68 pounds). School safety agents eventually had to restrain him until EMS arrived and took Rivera to Elmhurst Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. His mother plans on suing the school because her son was traumatized by the incident.
State Senator Eric Adams representing Brooklyn offered that perhaps police should be issued Velcro handcuffs for the physical restraint of children.
Velcro may be better than cold steel, but you are still psychologically damaging these children. Whatever happened to the days (like in the 70s and 80s) when kids were treated like.....well, kids. Children are the most innocent members of our society and when an adult feels the need to physically detain them, the problem is with the society created by the adults, not the other way around. It is time to start nurturing our youth, not wasting money on beefing up police and militarizing our schools with those ridiculous narcs and "School Safety" patrols.