Family sued after teen was detained by off-duty police officer


The family of Josh Nieves, the 14-year-old boy who was pinned to the ground by an off-duty police officer for moving a bicycle, is suing the city of Chicago and Police Officer Michael A. Vitellaro.

On July 1, 2022, after Vitellaro suspected Nieves of stealing Vitellaro’s son’s bike, Vitellaro pinned Nieves down outside a Starbucks in Chicago and placed his knee on his back. Vitellaro has been charged with misconduct and aggravated assault but was found not guilty earlier this month.

Now Nieves’ family is suing. The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, alleges that Nieves was on his bike talking to his friends in front of a Starbucks. As he was about to park his bike on a pillar, he repositioned Vitellaro’s son’s bike, which had allegedly been stolen by someone else and taken to Starbucks. Vitellaro then accused him of stealing his son’s bike and applied “right-hand pressure.” [Nieves’s] left shoulder, which can only be described as a clear demonstration of excessive and unjustified use of force against a minor.”

Angel Nieves, the father of Josh Nieves, said in a press release, “The abuse of force, irrational behavior and unprovoked actions of this Chicago police sergeant cannot go unchecked, so we will continue to fight for our son and do this.” hope to intercede for others who feel speechless in their quest for justice.”

Earlier this month, Josh Nieves told the court: “I was shocked. I thought I was going to lose my life.”

During his testimony, the teenager said he had nothing to do with the theft of Vitellaro’s son’s bike. The Nieves family said they believe Vitellaro’s attack on the youth was “racially motivated”. According to the lawsuit, Josh Nieves “suffered personal and financial injuries, including serious emotional injury, as a result of the detention,” and he “reasonably feared that he would suffer significant physical injury” and that he would suffer “severe emotional distress, including anxiety.” , fear, anger, embarrassment and humiliation.”

The city of Chicago did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Vitellaro’s behavior shocked both the Park Ridge community and decent people around the world,” said Nieves’ attorney Javier Rodriguez Jr. “This behavior cannot be tolerated and both Vitellaro and the City of Chicago will be held accountable.” their actions. We look forward to taking Sergeant Vitellaro to the witness stand and holding him accountable before a 12-person jury of his peers, as well as allowing a jury to decide for itself what justice and accountability looks like.”

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