The city agreed this weekend to pay a $250,000 settlement to 32 youngsters from Bushwick who, back in 2007, were rounded up and arrested while walking to a friend’s funeral in broad daylight.
The young people — all Black and Hispanic, ranging from ages 13 to early twenties — were walking peacefully to the funeral of a friend who police believed was a member of the Bloods gang when they were apprehended.
According to the kids’ attorney Michael Scolnick, six of the boys and girls, each under 16 years of age, were in custody from two to six hours and cuffed to a pipe or a Snapple machine. (There were either not charged or given desk appearance tickets and later dismissed without appearing.) Each settled for $9,000. The older ones who had formal charges issued against them for unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct settled for $20K.
One kid remembered things this way: “They had their guns out. They were cursing at us,” he said. ”It didn’t matter — children, women, they had us on the fence, up against the wall and on the ground. They treated us like animals,” Asher Callender, 19, told the New York Times. (Police disputed such accounts, saying they never brought out guns and used only stop-and-frisk techniques)
Many of the young people’s teachers at Bushwick Community High School demanded an apology from the city at the time. So far, the mayor, who has been out campaigning all weekend, has not made a statement about the settlement.