By: Anna Junko, Senior Editor for Student Literature and Art (firstname.lastname@example.org)
AUSTIN, IL – A 13-year-old boy was arrested after hitting an officer in the arm with a snowball on February 19th, 2013, in Austin, a neighborhood of Chicago. The boy was charged as a juvenile with felony aggravated battery against a police officer. He says he was wrongly picked out of a group of kids walking home from school after a snowball hit the officer’s car.
Some residents describe the charge as excessive, but some argue that charging the boy at a young age will help him learn right from wrong.
The boy’s mother told the Chicago Tribune, “He kept trying to tell the officer that he didn’t do it but they didn’t believe him. It’s sad, he’s only 13. I’m so upset, he’s never been in trouble before.”
The child has also been suspended from school for five days and will have to appear in juvenile court in March.
Will the charge stand? New York City recently doled out hundreds of thousands of dollars earlier this month to settle a lawsuit regarding the arrest and criminal charges of five teens accused of throwing a snowball at a cop. The charges were eventually dropped, but the five boys sued for $10 million. They eventually settled for $60,000 each.
Juvenile convictions may or may not be cleared from an individual’s record, and some worry that this incident will follow the Chicago boy for a lifetime. According to the Cook County Clerk of Court, Juvenile files are maintained for a period of 21 years from the date of the case’s initiation. The public does not have access to juvenile records. Individuals can petition to have records destroyed after 21 years.