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In Park Ridge, Illinois, on July 1st, outside the Starbucks on Northwest Highway, a white man claiming to be an off-duty Park Ridge police officer, who has not been identified, accused a 14-year-old boy of stealing his son’s bike, then proceeded to kneel on him.
As of now, the last name (Nieves) of the boy was provided, but his parents have decided that he will remain unnamed.
In a viral video, the boy’s friends tell the officer to get off their friend, but he continues to pin the boy down as he is gasping for breath. Finally, his friends surround the officer, screaming at him to move away from the teen. The officer says, “He’s taking my son’s bike,” and his friends respond, “No, he’s not,” as they push the officer off Nieves and help him off the ground.
During the scene, Nieves was hysterically crying, and there were six officers and four police cars on the scene, with at least 100 people around. At around 5:20 p.m., the Park Ridge police were called to the incident of a “fight in progress.”
His mom, Nicole Nieves, first posted the incident on Facebook, quickly going viral with assistance from TMZ.
Video: White off-duty cop kneels on back of 14-year-old boy
In a press release sent to ABC News, the parents 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 — the authority meant to PROTECT my son, not harm him,”
The boy’s parents, Nicole and Angel Nieves, posted the video online, hoping to raise awareness and demand justice against that officer. Nicole believed this was an example of racial profiling and filed a complaint with Park Ridge police. Her son is Puerto Rican, and the off-duty official is white. Both parents believe that the official targeted Nieves amongst his group of white friends.
She wrote, “He was not in uniform. He was not on duty. The allegation? Theft of his son’s bike— even though my son had his own bike present.”
“The supposed “proof”? Our son’s hands were on the bike as he moved it out of the way… while he was in possession [of] his own bike, right next to him (the orange bike you see in the video)”
“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.”
Park Ridge police respond
Park Ridge Police Chief Frank Kaminski said the officer believed Nieves stole his son’s bike. According to the officials, his son’s bike was stolen from a nearby library before the encounter.
Kaminski confirmed that Nieves had his bike and that photos of the thief who stole the bike were revealed. Moreover, he stated that the culprit abandoned the bike near the Starbucks near the location of the teen and off-duty officer.
Nieves’ legal team stated that he had touched the bike because it was on the sidewalk and was attempting to pass by it with his own bike. His parents are demanding accountability and justice from the Chicago Police Department, which includes releasing the officer’s name and filing criminal charges against the officer for his behavior.
The Chicago Police Department and the Chicago Civilian Office of Police Accountability are both conducting an internal investigation into this incident.