Brooklyn Teen Arrested, Charged After Being Cleared In Nearby Incident
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For 17 years, Nicholas Simon has called Crown Heights, Brooklyn, home. But after a run-in with police last week, the teen doesn’t feel at ease in his own surroundings.

Last Wednesday, while walking home from the park, NYPD officers swooped in on the young student and DJ with no warning. They immediately handcuffed him and placed him in the back of a squad car with no explanation as to why he was being arrested. The incident, which was caught on video, is now making its rounds on social media.

Simon told News 12 Brooklyn that he still has physical bruises from the altercation where he claims police officers put their knees on his head and back and dragged him from the ground in handcuffs.  Once inside the car, the teen who is home-schooled due to his severe asthma and sickle cell anemia, said police questioned him about the whereabouts of a gun. Simon told the officers that he did not know what they were talking about, and asked repeatedly, without answers, why he was being arrested.

After being taken down to Precint 71 in Brooklyn, Simon and his mother Sparkle Roach say the interrogation continued.

They also claim that the teen was not given an opportunity to place a phone call. Roach was notified about the incident from neighbors who watched the alarming encounter take place.

According to Roach, her son also went without her supervision and water for upwards of three hours. The concerned mom told News 12 that the whole time she was worried about her son’s medical condition, which officers blew off.

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Nicholas Simon is a 17 year old DJ and Student. He has a serious medical condition that prevents him from attending regular high school classes, so he’s home schooled. He’s 5’3” and 119 lbs. This is Nicholas in this video. Nicholas has never had any trouble with the law. On this day, Nicholas was coming home from the park when police officers from the 71st Precinct in Brooklyn, New York, ran up to him and kidnapped him without cause. While being kneeled on and placed in a wrestling hold, Nicholas was interrogated. Nicholas’ medical condition requires that he stay hydrated, however, when Nicholas asked for water he was denied. When Nicholas’ mother and other concerned members of the community arrived at the precinct to inquire about his arrest and his well-being, they were disrespected, denied access and scoffed at. Nicholas was eventually charged with Disorderly Conduct and Conduct Threatening to the Safety of others. But the video speaks for itself. This is normalized behavior. No one is surprised here. Even I’m not surprised- I get these cases all the time. I even have a rough estimate of how much money I’ll get for Nicholas based on these officers conduct. But when does our abuse stop being transactional? The city budgets include a fund for these cases. But when do we make systemic changes? This doesn’t make the news and all these politicians can ignore it because it’s normal now- it’s not egregious enough. But imagine a similarly situated rich white kid being kidnapped by the police and then given a fake charge to substantiate the false arrest? All of the heartfelt responses to “when they see us” were cute. But this happened last week. And if Nicholas had not been smart enough to remain silent and there had been a crime to pin on Nicholas, this story would have ended differently. But this is america. Share if you care.

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The family has now secured the legal services of Keith White to represent the teen. White told ESSENCE that he is pushing to dismiss the summons for disorderly conduct that was issued to Simon after it was determined that he was not involved in a nearby incident where shots were fired and police arrested four people.

White will also be filing a lawsuit against the NYPD for their handling of the matter.  

“Nicholas is going to be fine but what about all those men who don’t have the benefit of an attorney or the benefit of a video?” White questioned. “Our concern with the narrative is not so much with Nicholas. It’s that people aren’t as up in arms because he wasn’t shot. We’ve normalized, and in ways allowed this type of police conduct.”

In the coming days, White says he and the family will be meeting with NYPD officials, including precinct commanders and borough chiefs. They will also be speaking with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office.  

The NYPD was contacted for a statement but has yet to respond.

Though Simon’s physical scars will heal, his mother alludes that only time will tell if the emotional wounds from his first run-in with the police will as readily fade away.

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