[Khalia Wilson, 14; Lamis Chapman, 13; Shytika Wilson, 15; Jonathan Harris, 18 say they were assaulted by NYPD officers.]
By Elham Asaad Buaras
Just days after leaked documents revealed New York Police Department (NYPD) officials spied on Muslim residents and mosques, calling them “terrorist organisations” – which gives them greater latitude to conduct surveillance – a group of Bronx Muslim teenagers say they were assaulted by police officers for no reason at all.
Lamis Chapman, 12, and Khalia Wilson, 14 say they were playing handball at 9:30 pm at a local park on August 26
According to the sisters, police told them to leave because the park was closed. As they were being escorted out, Khalia claims an officer grabbed her from behind, put her into a chokehold, and threw her to the ground.
“They said they asked for ID. I didn’t hear them,” Khalia said.
Lamis said she told the officer to get off her sister, and the officer’s female partner threw Lamis to the ground. As they lay on the ground, the girls, said the officers ripped off their hijabs.
“They didn’t say anything,” Khalia added. “I kept saying, ’I’m 14! What are you doing? We’re not bad kids.’”
A crowd gathered, with many pleading with police to let the girls go, the sisters said. Police called for backup, and within moments, dozens of officers were on the scene.
The girls’ brother, Shytike Wilson, 15, saw the officers straddling his sisters from his window and raced downstairs.
“I asked them why my sisters were in handcuffs,” Shytike said. “They charged me, picked me up, and slammed me on the floor.”
Jonathan Harris, 18, a bystander, also found himself in police crosshairs during the incident. When Harris heard the girls’ screams he ran to the park to help, but upon seeing the officer on top of the teens he took out his phone to record the scene.
The college student says he was snatched up by officer for trying to document the incident.
“Come here, you little motherfu@#er,” said the officer, according to Harris. “You like recording?”
Harris claims he was chased by police when he tried to flee. When they caught up with the teen, Harris says an officer threatened to break his arm if he didn’t hand over his phone.
According to a NYPD source, police claim “the officers told the kids to leave (the park) when they began acting disorderly.” Police allege they were escorting the girls out of the park when Harris grabbed one of the girls away from the officers.
Harris was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental function, no charges appear to have been filed against the teen girls. Police claim two officers were hospitalised for scrapes, bruises and sprains.
The NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating the incident.