Teenagers do dumb things sometimes. But it doesn’t necessarily mean they should face felony charges for stupid pranks. A 13-year-old boy was recently arrested and taken into custody for throwing a snowball at a Chicago police officer. He’s being charged as a juvenile for “aggravated battery to a peace officer,” which is a felony.
The boy says that he was misidentified from a group of kids, and he wasn’t the one that threw the snowball. He also said that it didn’t hit the cop, but only the marked vehicle in which the cop was sitting.
"It made me mad," said the eighth-grader. “He (the officer) said the snowball hit him but it hit the car, not him."
The teen was standing in a group of about 15 kids after school on Wednesday when the frozen projectile was launched. The dean of the school and a security guard both singled him out as the perpetrator of the prank. According to his mom, the kid kept saying he didn’t do it, but they didn’t believe him.
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Whether he threw the snowball or not, this over-the-top punishment is ridiculous. Should kids be throwing snowballs at law enforcement officials? Absolutely not. But it’s not a felony-level offense in my book. I’m thinking this kid probably just needed a stern talking to, and had his parents notified.
This is his first arrest. He has no record to speak of, and has never been associated with any gang.
The school went overboard too, in my opinion, by suspending him for five days. Dean Lenard Robertson only said, “I have absolutely no comment,” when asked about the situation.
Maybe if this kid had a history of bad behavior. Maybe if he had been openly defiant and/or threatening to the cop. Maybe if it had been a rock instead of a snowball. But given the circumstances as they’ve been reported, this seems like total overkill.
Do you think throwing a snowball at cop car should be a felony charge?
Image via Jim Kelly/Flickr