Steven shared this post via CopBlock.org’s submit page. The photograph above depicts Steven at age thirteen, several days after his interaction with the NYPD.
Date of Interaction: 2002
Police Employees Involved: Unknown officers, 122nd Precinct, Staten Island, NY
Police Employee Contact Information: (718) 667-2211 - 2320 Hylan Blvd, Staten Island, NY 10306
Here’s the story of what happened to me and ruined my life. I wrote a story about my anxiety and panic disorder and shared it with people, and this is just a portion of it with edits to make the brutality part more of the aspect than the anxiety aspect. I thought you’d like a good read. Okay, here we go…
I was thirteen years old, doing what any normal thirteen year old would do. I was just hanging around and keeping company with friends. We would always meet up at a shopping plaza near my house since it was sort of like the “middle area” in location to where we all lived. One of these days though, the plaza was crowded by a gang from a neighboring town and they were causing trouble. They were harassing store owners and messing with drivers. I’m assuming some of the store clerks called 911, and you’ll find out why later. Anyway, I took it upon myself to get them out of the area. They knew me from school and respected me, out of fear, mostly because I’m a big, mean dude, even for a thirteen year old (you don’t see many thirteen year old kids with a full beard, so I kind of give credit to my intimidating look too).
Anyway, they all left. I got them out of there simply by talking with them. I told them how they were disrespecting people I know in my town and wanted them to calm down or leave. So, an hour passed and the whole mess cleared. A bunch of my friends and I decided to walk down the block to another friend’s house across the street from the shopping plaza we always hung out at. My one friend, Rob, is disabled. He has some sort of condition with his hip and cannot walk properly. He was in a little pain at the moment and needed a rest, so we sat on a patch of grass down the block from my friend’s house, still only just across the street from the shopping plaza. I was the only one that stayed behind and waited for him, and told my friends we will meet up with them in a bit once Rob rested and felt okay to go. He was sitting on this giant rock and we were just talking.
Suddenly, three grown men came down the grassy hill from the opposite side and started walking toward me and Rob. They were dressed in regular clothing, and looked like typical New York assholes, so I stood in front of Rob in case these guys were looking for trouble. These three men came up to us and started asking me questions about what I was doing there and why, and as they were asking I was not responding and instead asking them the question, “Who are you? What do you care?” They said they were cops, but I didn’t believe it. Fake cops are also a big thing here, and these guys didn’t even appear from a police car or anything. They didn’t have a badge to show either. They ignored me and just repeatedly told me to take my hands out of my pockets, which they weren’t even in. They were on my side. I told them to get out of here because they were starting to piss me off, and one of the guys in front of me slapped my wrist while the other two circled me like thugs about to jump me. Next thing I knew, I spent fifteen minutes in sight of the public against a busy road getting beaten down by three grown men. I didn’t even fight back at first. I let them do their thing until they were done, but they kept kicking me, punching me, and they even grabbed me by my hair and started beating my face into a pile of rocks. I was gushing blood everywhere. I still didn’t fight back. Then one cop told another to go get my friend Rob. I told them to leave him alone because he is disabled, but the one cop started approaching him with handcuffs out, so I got pissed and started fighting back. I clinched and kneed one guy in the face and sliced his forehead open, then broke another’s nose and threw the third officer on top of them. I’m a big, powerful dude, and not to mention trained to fight, so I took control of the three of them the best I could and told them that they could handcuff me and do what they want if they leave him alone. So after fifteen minutes of this mess, they finally got me in cuffs and walked me to a black car.
Now, at this point, I thought I was being kidnapped. I still did not believe these were cops. They sure as hell did not act like cops. I got thrown in the car and they repeatedly made threats and insulted while I was in the backseat. We had a little war on words and I gave them some speech about the way they’re living their lives. Eventually, we got to the police precinct. I was placed in jail while handcuffed to a chair. Can you imagine my anxiety? I was just a thirteen year old kid helping his friend. Honestly, I thought they were going to kill me, but like I said, after a little drive we arrived at a police precinct. My father picked me up after the cops charged me with resisting arrest, public intoxication, loitering, and a bunch of other stuff, none of which was true.
I went home, and since that day, even to today, I carry that memory in my mind because it stole my pride and self-respect. I felt worthless, and the people who respected me and believed in me most saw and heard about it. I was their protector, someone to look after them. I cared a lot about my friends, and I never wanted them to see me like that. Those cops stripped me of all I was and mentally I just never recovered. I tried, but I just wasn’t me anymore. Eventually, I turned fourteen and was afraid to leave my house. I still did, but I was just afraid. The anxiety grew and got worse and worse. I ended up afraid to walk down the block, and I only went out in my backyard, so instead of the shopping plaza we would all gather at, my friends would come in my yard. We did this for like three months. Eventually my body couldn’t take all the anxiety and I collapsed in panic. I didn’t want to fight it anymore. I ended up dropping out of school illegally. I was only six months into the ninth grade. Needless to say, I eventually became severely agoraphobic, having up to sixteen panic attacks a day.
I never left my house again. For four straight years, I never touched my front door… I never smelled the air of the outside. I rarely saw the sun for weeks at a time because I’d like being awake at night when the world was calm and quiet. I never touched a human being for four years, never continued my education in high school, I became afraid of everything, even shaving, showering, or moving in a certain way. I was so afraid. I was mentally scarred and no one helped me.
Now, before my collapse and agoraphobic behavior, I had many court appearances in front of a judge. There were a lot because the arresting officer that night of the beating never made an appearance in court, so the judge threw the case out. My family and I tried to find a lawyer to sue the NYPD, but all the lawyers wanted interviews, and when we discussed the circumstances of the story, all the lawyers would decline to work for us. It’s so hard to find someone who would stand against the police.
Eventually, we gave up, and then that’s when my aforementioned issues started. I lost my life as a teenager. I never went to school. I stayed locked in my bedroom with a computer for the next several years, alone. My parents didn’t take the mental issues seriously and generally thought I was just lazy, and they’d get mad at me, especially my father, so they basically let me rot. It usually comes with the territory that older generations don’t understand what a mental disorder is. They assume you can just get over it, but in many cases it is in fact a medical condition that only stems from something impacting your life or genetics. I may have never gone to jail, but those police still locked me up emotionally in my own home. For what? Why? What reasoning did they have to escalate this situation on a child? Is it because I did their job for them while they showed up over an hour later?
I eventually found a girl online who was very sweet to me and tried getting me out of my house. We ended up together for close to six years, but my panic and anxiety issues eventually pushed her away. I’ve worked several jobs since at homeless shelters and for UPS, but I’d eventually quit or get laid off due to anxiety or physical problems that I developed from four years of horrible living treatment, such as my stomach hernia which can not be repaired, my horrible arthritis, and my dizzy spells.
I still fight everyday, but right now I’m broken, unemployed, and hurting. I’m broke, twenty-seven years old, and still living with my parents who I take care of in the house since my father is a heart attack survivor and my mother has Multiple Sclerosis. I do all the heavy lifting of things around the house, or help my mother with opening a bottle or jar, but I’m in pain myself so often I can barely do much more, so I’m really not as big of a help as I want to be or wish to be. I also cannot get SSI because they keep denying me. I am doing better with anxiety and can control it, and rarely ever panic, but it’s like I am trapped in my home again against my will, and this all stems from that one night.
That’s my story.