Is He A Victim Or A Bully? 7-Year-Old Arrested And Questioned For Hours By Police For Stealing $5

January 31, 2013  |  


Photo: Tamara Beckwith

Early last month, Bronx native and 7-year-old Wilson Reyes got the shock of his young life when police arrived at his school, slapped handcuffs on him, took him to a local precinct inside a juvenile holding room and interrogated him for hours (according to the New York Post). And they did all this because Reyes was accused of stealing $5.

While this happened at the end of last year, the story became news around NYC recently because the family is in the early stages of trying to sue the city and the NYPD for $250 million for what the family and their lawyer say was a “a complete violation of his civil rights, of his human rights.” And while shock and sympathy was initially going the way of the young child, a kid who says he was the one who got beat up outside of school by Reyes for that $5 is saying that after months of being harassed, bullied and beat on by him because of his weight, the arrest was warranted.

On Nov. 30 2012, it is alleged by 9-year-old Seth Acevedo that as he walked home after school one day, he was punched in the face by Reyes and attacked by Reyes’ accomplice for the money he had on him, $5. Reyes’ accomplice, 9-year-old Javonne McLeod, has actually said that this story is true, according to the New York Daily News. Acevedo claims that Reyes has been harassing him since the school year began, saying “He would call me names. He would punch and kick me. I wish they never took the cuffs off of him….He acts like an animal. People are trying to say, poor Wilson, but he’s nothing but a big bully.”

Seth Acevedo and his mother: Anthony DelMundo/New York Daily News
But Reyes and his family still tell a different story, claiming the young boy has been lied on and was treated unfairly by the police. Especially his mother, Frances Menendez, who had to witness her very scared son in the precinct. “My son was crying, ‘Mommy, it wasn’t me! Mommy, it wasn’t me!’ I never imagined the cops could do that to a child. We’re traumatized.”
And according to the New York Post’s story yesterday, how Reyes got that $5 is a story that doesn’t match Acevedo’s whatsoever and comes off more as a misunderstanding:
The money, which was supposed to be used for a school trip that never happened, had fallen on the ground in front of Wilson and two other boys, and one of them scooped it up. Wilson was falsely accused of taking it, and he scuffled with one of the kids…Reyes was handcuffed and verbally, physically and emotionally abused, intimidated, humiliated, embarrassed and defamed,” the documents say. He was then charged with robbery.
But police say that the claims made by the family and their lawyer have been “grossly fabricated,” especially the 10 hours they claim Reyes was held in custody. According to reports, he was treated like any young person brought in for questioning.  They say he was only held from late 3 p.m. to late 7 p.m. and it was decided after the questioning that they would drop the robbery charge.

“We responded to a 911 call of a robbery and assault . . . Eventually, [Wilson] was taken back to the precinct and placed in the juvenile room. He was charged with robbery. The allegation was that he punched the kid and took his money. He took the money forcibly. The kid came into the precinct a little bit after 3 p.m., and he was out by 7:45 p.m. . . . That’s standard for a juvenile arrest.”

But the family still isn’t buying their story and now they want the world to know what happened. But is Reyes really a victim? Or is he a bully that finally received some hopefully behavior-changing punishment? As someone who has had a nephew be physically assaulted by a bully, I can’t say that I feel any real sympathy for Reyes. And since the robbery charge has been dropped, that young man’s family needs to focus less on trying to get some money from the city and the NYPD and teach their child some act right. But what do you think? Does the family have a case?

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  • MsAdamas

    The police was called obviously because this isn’t the first of problems with this kid at school. His family’s enabling him and Lord forbid, they hopefully won’t be burying him or being called to a precinct for murder in the future…

  • Honestly

    Bad a** kid. The mom is no better. Looking for a way to make some easy money. People kill me.

  • How did the family come up with a figure like $250 million?? People love trying to get over. smh

  • FromUR2UB

    I’m just wondering why the accomplice wasn’t brought in also. If the kid is really doing this kind of thing, no foul. He’d learn the lesson if his mother reinforced it. But if she keeps shielding him from consequence, then he’ll grow into one of those useless young men who have to live with their mothers.

  • CKB

    What kind of message are the parents of Wilson sending their child by suing?

  • Pingback: 7 Year Old Arrested Over Lunch Money()

  • Nikki

    Whether or not he took the money, they should’ve never interrogated him for 10 hours! That’s crazy!

    • Drew Smith

      You gottta read, baby.

      • Nikki

        I did read, “baby”. I read the NY Post article earlier today. Please enlighten me on where I went wrong, because obviously I disagree.

        • Drew Smith

          There was little, tiny part in the article that reads something like the following: “The kid came into the precinct a little bit after 3 p.m., and he was out by 7:45 p.m. . . . That’s standard for a juvenile arrest.” I’m kidding, that’s EXACTLY how it reads… because I copied it from the article. It’s been real, but I gotta jet, hot stuff. You be cool.

          • MLS2698

            You need to stop it. Leave folks alone. Sometimes they read things into articles. Can you see that interrogation? : You know you dun f*cked up , don’t you? You f*cked up. You know you f*cked up? ( Menace to Society, the movie).

            • Drew Smith

              That’s one of my top scenes right there!

          • Nikki

            Well, “hot stuff”, more than one source has said that he was interrogated for 10 hours. (Which is why I said he was interrogated for 10 hours) I consider the NY Post and ABC News to be more reliable than Madame Noire.

            Pulled from the NY Post:
            “Instead of earning himself a simple trip to the principal’s office, a terrified 7-year-old boy was hauled out of class, handcuffed like a hardened criminal and “interrogated” by police for a grueling 10 hours — all over a playground dispute involving $5, his family is charging.”

            Pulled from ABC News:
            “The family of a 7-year-old New York boy is suing police and the city for $250 million, saying cops handcuffed and interrogated the boy for ten hours after a scuffle over lunch money at school.”

            • Drew Smith

              You mean sources that you NEVER mentioned on a thread on MADAME NOIRE, with a quote from a police officer stating a specific time-frame the juvenile was detained (which can easily proven by video surveillance) that does an excellent job of refuting the 10-hour claim??? Nikki… what am I gonna do with you? Just SMH. No Debate Club for you, huh? I imagine not. I gotta blow this popsicle stand, Love Button. You be cool.

              • Nikki

                Obviously, there are several different versions of the story and the only way to find out the truth would be to read the police report.

                As far as what you’re going to do with me – you can just go about your business, “love button”. And no, I wasn’t a member of my school’s debate club because I was too busy leading other clubs.

            • kierah

              The only people saying the boy was held for ten hours is the perpetrator’s family. Clearly they have a vested interest in exaggerating – the same way they are exaggerating the amount they’ll should sue for. It’s the same source.

  • Drew Smith

    Acevedo says that Wilson banged on him and got him for his ducats; Wilson says the money fell on the ground and he scooped it up. Fast forward 10 years. A fool is dead, and the police say Wilson did it; Wilson says he was just walking, and a dead body just… appeared. At just 7 years old, Wilson’s already been thuggin’ a long time, y’all. And, he’s gonna throw his life away if continues down the path he’s on.

  • V…

    Finally a School waking up to they’re not going to deal with bullies anymore this Wilson is a true bully in thr making & his pathetic mother thinks she deserves 250 million for her son bulling money from anothet kid i hope she receives zero & Wilson is removed from the School…

  • kierah

    He’ll never learn because Mommy believes everything he says. She is trying to hit the ghetto lottery by suing NYPD.

    While I fully agree that the parent should press charges when the child is assaulted, there should be a more sensitive protocol for dealing with offenders under the age of 12. If the child is cooperative and not a danger to himself or others, no cuffs should be necessary.

    • Ms_Sunshine9898

      lawd, i fell out at ghetto lottery!

  • cella

    I don’t feel bad for him look at him in the picture he is smiling I believe he did rob that little boy and he deserve what he got parents should have raised him better….

    • It’sMe

      IKR!! That little punk just just as smug… little douche…

  • They should have held him for 10 hours! Sue…the only one that should sue is the parent of the child robbed. They should sue the bullies parent for pain and suffering and any trauma associated with having a big fat bully rob him. Bravo to the police! Maybe next time this little gangster will remember being handcuffed and do the right thing because it’s obvious that his parent does not see a lesson in this. Get Social Services involved to teach that parent some right and wrong.

  • Bully or not, I’m not for police going to the school, and taking and holding a SEVEN YEAR OLD boy for hours without a parent being there. That’s not cool..AT ALL. There has to be a better way.

  • That lil boy probably bad as hell. They probably save some kids life in the future by showing him punishment

  • Cakester

    I’m glad they scared his butt now with a slap on the wrist…. at 7, he is already bullying and robbing kids, and his parents don’t believe it…. 250 million for chastising your kid??? I’ll give you $20 if you let me spank his bad butt!!! Raise your kids and stop letting the law do it for you!!!

  • Kitsy

    NO sympathy – this is a little thug in training!

  • Trisha_B

    He doing all that 7, imagine what he would be doing at 17. Scare his little behind

  • realadulttalk

    Sounds to me like the PD gave this child an early wake up call. His parents should be thanking them…instead he will be in prison at 18. Poor parenting!!!

  • Laine

    Good for him… !!! He was a bully and a thief.. bet he wil never bully and steal again !!!

  • IllyPhilly

    Say what? You want money for raising a brat? The cops arrested your kid? Good, that should happen more often then 6 year old kids won’t be committing suicide from bullying.

  • Ms_Sunshine9898

    9 times out of 10, this kid probably was a bully and mommy just can’t believe that her baby would do such a thing and defends her son with all her might. While the police went a little extreme, I’m glad they did what they did. Teaches him that actions have consequences and this is the life he’s looking at in about 10-15 years if he keeps up his behavior. Shame on mama for trying to reward her son’s bad behavior. . .

  • SMHgurl24

    250 million for them interrogating your punk kid? It just tickles me inside to know that you will never see that money!

    • It’sMe

      You know what? I say go ahead and sue, that way when they lose their case, and they’re stuck with the stiff lawyer fees, they’ll find out truly how crime doesn’t pay.