Three Muslim teens and one would-be documentarian in New York City were arrested by NYPD officers last Thursday night. Two of the teen girls, Lamis Chapman, 12, and Khalia Wilson, 14, were playing handball in their neighborhood at 9:30 p.m. when police asked them for identification.
"They said they asked for ID," Wilson told the Daily News. "But I didn't hear them."
When the teens didn't respond, one of the officers put Wilson in a chokehold, while his female partner threw Chapman to the ground. Once the pair were restrained, police allegedly removed their hijabs, or Muslim headscarves.
Wilson told the Daily News that she implored the officers to stop: "I kept saying, 'I'm 14! What are you doing? We're not bad kids.'"
The girls' brother, Shytike Wilson, saw the crowd gathering around them from his apartment window and arrived at the scene at the same time as police reinforcements. "I asked them why my sisters were in handcuffs," he told the Daily News. "They charged me, picked me up, and slammed me on the floor."
A college student, Jonathan Harris, heard screaming and ran into the park. When he started to record the officers at the scene, he too was accosted. "Come here, you little motherf***er. You like recording?" the cop said, according to Harris.
He tried to run away, but was tackled by one of the newly arrived officers. He says this officer pushed his face in the dirt, put him in an armlock, and pepper-sprayed him before another punched him in the face. "Where's the phone?" Harris said the first officer screamed.
Harris was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing government function.
Police have a different story. A source said "[t]he officers told the kids to leave [the park] when they began to act disorderly."
This incident is straining already tense relations between the Muslim community and the NYPD, which earlier in the week admitted to having labelled mosques as "terrorist organizations" and spied on them as part of their "terrorism enterprise investigations" program.
["Girl Wearing Pink Hijab Scarf" on Shutterstock.com]