With Great Power Comes The Thinnest Skin: 13-Year-Old Hit With Felony Charges After Throwing Snowball At Cop

from the millions-of-assault-victims-still-wander-the-nation's-playgrounds dept

Considering the type of people cops interact with the most, you'd think law enforcement officers be the most broad-shouldered of individuals, easily shrugging off the various slights and indignities they're subjected to on a daily basis. You'd think that, but you'd be wrong.

According to police, a 13-year-old boy was charged as a juvenile with felony aggravated battery against a police officer Wednesday after he hit the officer in the arm with a snowball while the officer was parked in his vehicle in the 4900 block of West Congress Parkway about 3:20 p.m.
A cop, a person not entirely unlike anyone else ever hit by a snowball, found the impact of snow against his arm to be nearly unbearable. The main difference between Joe Citizen and Officer Snowball is that the Chicago police officer has the power to toss the offending person into the gears of the criminal justice system. Which is what he did. Obviously, this has provoked plenty of negative reaction.
"I think that's ridiculous — it's such a big charge," said Latanya Powell, a construction worker on the block. "It's just going overboard. I can see if it were a weapon and harm was done, but it was just a snowball.

"This is a case of kids being kids."
Boys will be boys, but that's only acceptable if they don't extend their natural mischievousness to include this particular uniformed manchild. Once you cross that line -- a line only a cop can see -- you're finished. Say goodbye to childhood and hello to a criminal record that will affect you for years to come.

Not everyone was as nonplussed as Latanya Powell. Local idiot educator Ray Fields felt this was a totally appropriate response to snowball-throwing.
"If [the boy] had gotten away with it, who's to say what they'd do next? If it doesn't stick to them now, they'll be 16 or 17, and they'll have a gun," Fields said, adding that he has experience with local teens as a teacher and was the victim of a home burglary by neighborhood teens in 2010.
Hmm. Well, if we follow Fields' reasoning (and that of the unnamed cop), we arrive at a couple of conclusions, both equally asinine.

A. Throwing snowballs at authority figures is a gateway drug to a life of crime. (Because snowballs magically become guns when the snowball thrower hits "age 16 or 17.")

B. If a kid hitting a cop with a snowball is felonious battery, then kids everywhere are committing this crime -- repeatedly -- after every snowfall (with the attendant "snowballs lead to gunplay" concerns nowhere to be seen).

Conclusion A is a dead end. It's not unlike the assertion that because criminals play video games, playing video games leads to criminal acts. Many criminals threw snowballs at their friends and authority figures (adults, teachers, cops) during their formative years, therefore snowball throwing leads to criminal acts. Rather than punish criminal behavior, those deploying this stunted logic want to crack down on non-criminal behavior in the deluded hope of preventing future criminal acts. All the way wrong, all the way down.

Conclusion B just exposes the fact that there are multiple sets of rules in play at any given time: one for citizens, one for cops and one for when the two intersect. Johnny hits Timmy with a snowball and it's "playing." A cop hits another cop with a snowball and it's "playing." But Johnny hitting a cop with a snowball is a felony.

Hanging a felony charge on a kid for snowball throwing is not only completely absurd, it has a much greater chance of converting him to a criminal than his cop-targeting snowball throwing does. Way to go, law enforcement (and enablers like Ray Fields): you're generating scofflaws just as fast as you can trump up charges against them.

Filed Under: abuse, police


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Feb 2014 @ 9:44pm

    Updates according to online news (and rant.)

    At this point the kid is saying the snowball didn't hit the cop's arm as he's claiming, but the cruiser. It's not clear that he was the one who threw it.

    A dean of the kid's school, who is the witness who fingered the kid has given the kid five days suspension, because a felony charge isn't enough.

    At this point I want to see this go through the justice system. I want to see a Cook County jurist declare that either it is, indeed, aggravated assault when a police officer is hit with a snowball, or that it isn't and that the officer in question should be dressed down.

    In fact, I want to see an indictment. I want to see a Cook County jury tell this child that he's just ruined his life with a felony charge at thirteen...or that by invoking the justice system at all, this officer has gone way too far.

    And then I want to see Cook County pay a fine of six digits or more, maybe put this kid through a decent college that way. If they're going to keep coppers who have no sense of proportional response, if they're going to institute zero-tolerance policies so that children cannot make mistakes ever, then I want to see their precinct get fined out of existence. Maybe the street-gangs will keep better order.


    As of this posting I have not received a US National Security Letter or any classified gag order from an agent of the United States
    Encrypted with Morbius-Cochrane Perfect Steganographic Codec 1.2.001
    Tuesday, February 25, 2014 9:42:30 PM
    pirate test salt pyjamas mouse salary creature breakfast

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.