To protect, serve, and shove a kid through a plate glass window every now and then

My daughter is in kindergarten and thinks police officers are the best people on the planet. Every time we see a police officer in a casual setting (getting lunch, let’s say), she wants to say hi to them and shake their hands, and in the few times this has actually happened I have to say the officers have been unfailingly warm and kind to her. It makes me a little sad that someday she’s going to read stories like this:

Cops smashed a handcuffed fourteen-year-old through a storefront window in the Bronx Saturday night, nearly killing him.

The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange reports that Javier Payne suffered cuts to his face, his chest, and a punctured lung from being shoved into the window of the Hookah Shop. Paramedics had to hold Payne’s chest closed as he was rushed to the hospital — though they did not arrive on scene immediately because police called it in with a protocol used for drunks, not for a pediatric emergency.

Payne was arrested that night with another teenager on charges of resisting arrest, obstructing government administration, and assault. While it’s not clear what the circumstances surrounding the arrest were, police often use these kinds of charges to discredit or obscure accusations of brutality. The report filed by the officers made no mention of the window smashing.

After hours of surgery, Payne’s mother was allowed to see her son. “Mommy, Mommy,” he said. “The cop, he pushed my head through the window while I was handcuffed, Mommy, he pushed my head through the window.”

JJIE interviewed Hookah Shop owner Nageib Aldaylam, who said the two boys visited the shop, but nothing untoward happened until the officers showed up and started questioning them. The boys argued with the officers until one of the cops smashed Payne through the window. Afterward, as Payne bled on the pavement, the cops asked Aldaylam if he had security footage, and if the boys had done anything when they entered the store. Aldayam said no.

My grandfather was a police dispatcher, and I have a few distant-ish relatives who are/were police, so I met a lot of cops when I was growing up. So I’m sort of wired to respect cops myself, which may be why my daughter is the way she is. I do think that most cops are decent human beings doing a stressful job, but sometimes it’s hard to keep that in mind.

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