NYPD Wrongly Arrests Black Honor Student

NYPD Wrongly Arrests Black Honor Student

NYPD officers falsely arrested 15-year-old honor student Brittany Rowley, pegging her as a shoplifter because she matched a vague description.

Published May 24, 2012

Amid the ongoing discourse about the NYPD’s sour relations with New York City’s minorities, the latest report of mistaken identity from 15-year-old honor student Brittany Rowley gives further credence to community qualms about the department’s tactics.

Even after admitting the false arrest, the officers involved were unapologetic about targeting the teen for simply matching the description of a Black girl with braids. The New York Daily News writes:

“There is no dispute that two black teen girls shoplifted shorts and jeans from Rivet, a clothing store on Seventh Ave., last Friday around 3:30 p.m. A description of the suspects was broadcast by police at 3:44 p.m. — two female black teens, dark hair, one had a ponytail, police said.

Catanzaro and Nakao were patrolling in an umarked car when they spotted Rowley and a friend walking on Prospect Park West. Rowley had braided hair extensions tied together.

Rowley, a freshman at St. Saviour High School, and her friend were going to the library when she noticed a vehicle trailing them.

The accounts diverge at this point. Rowley said the car suddenly reversed and a male yelled, “Get them!” The cops claim they said, “Excuse me ladies,” with their badges out.
Rowley and her friend ran. “I thought we were being abducted,” Rowley said.

Catanzaro tackled Rowley and threw her to the ground. He threw his keys, she said, hitting her leg. She recalled him saying, “Why did you f------ run? I should punch you.”
She claims Catanzaro yanked her up, whipsawing her neck. She says police also snapped on cuffs, causing bruises. Her friend returned and was collared too.”

Read the full story here.

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(Photo: Courtesy New York Daily News)

Written by Naeesa Aziz


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