Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News - 2013-09-04
Two Muslim teenage girls claim they were allegedly beaten for no apparent reason and had their hijabs (Muslim headscarf) ripped off by New York Police Department (NYPD) officials in Bronx Park.
12 year old Lamis Chapman and 14 year old Khalia Wilson said they were playing handball in the park near their home in the Lester Patterson Houses in Mott Haven, the Bronx, when police approached them and asked them to leave, as the park was closed.
The girls said police followed them out and one grabbed Khalia from behind in a chokehold, wrestling her to the ground.
"They said they asked for ID. I didn't hear them," Khalia said.
Lamis said she told the cop 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 cops ripped off their hijabs (Muslim headscarf).
"They didn't say anything," Khalia added. "I kept saying, 'I'm 14! What are you doing? We're not bad kids.'"
When their 15-year-old brother, Shytike Wilson, saw the police straddling and assaulting his younger sisters from a window, he ran to their aid. "I asked them why my sisters were in handcuffs," he said, when the police, "charged me, picked me up, and slammed me on the floor."
Jonathan Harris An 18-year-old college student, came to the girls assistance when he heard them screaming and ran to the park to help. He told the cops to leave the teens alone and took out his cell phone to record the female officer atop Lamis.
According to Harris, the officer told him, "Come here, you little motherf**er. You like recording?"
Harris said he sprinted towards a nearby building, but was caught and thrown to the ground, getting pepper-sprayed and punched in the face during the struggle.
The police however have painted a wholly different picture. "The officers told the kids to leave (the park) when they began acting disorderly," said the source, who added that the police were escorting the teens out of the park when Harris grabbed one of the girls away from the cops.
Harris was charged with "disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental function," and the police reported that two officers were hospitalized with "scrapes, bruises, and sprains."
The NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau is reportedly looking into the incident.
The incident comes in the wake of a stream of bad publicity for the NYPD, as they face criticism for controversial stop-and-frisk policies and widespread surveillance of Muslims in their religious communities. - HP