A Chicago police officer who was caught on video placing his knee on the back of a 14-year-old boy after falsely accusing him of stealing a bicycle last month was charged Thursday with two felonies.
Michael Viterallo who was off-duty was charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct. He turned himself in earlier today.
But the family of the boy is wondering why he was not arrested the day of the incident.
The incident took place on July 1 in front of a Starbucks in Park Ridge, a Chicago suburb.
The boy, Josh Nieves, was trying to move the bike out the way because it had been left on the sidewalk blocking his path, according to his mother.
But when the boy placed his hands on the bicycle, the cop pounced on him, Nicole Nieves, the mother, posted on Facebook two days after the incident.
The video shows the boy’s friends telling the cop to get off, eventually pushing him off. The video then ends.
“He’s taking my son’s bike,” Viterallo told the other teens while planting his knee on the boy’s back.
“No, he’s not,” one of the teens responded.
Four Park Ridge police officers showed up responding to a call of a fight in progress. They took statements but made no arrests. The agency posted a press release on its Facebook page today explaining they needed to first conduct a proper “investigation.”
The boy’s parents accused the cop of profiling because the boy is of Puerto Rican descent.
Below is a cut and paste of what the boy’s parents posted on Facebook on July 5 along with the video where it quickly went viral.
**This isn’t the kind of post we wanted to share right now, during 4th of July weekend, but here we are**
Nothing prepares you for this day.
One minute, you’re cooking dinner… the next, you’re getting a call from your 14-year-old
son, stumbling over his words through hysterical tears, saying, “Mom, please come pick me
You drop everything. Pray feverishly for his safety as you race to be with him.
4 police cars.
At least 100 people around.
And our sweet, God-fearing, Park Ridge honor student—who also happens to be a brown boy with afro hair—standing in a sea of light faces…
Confused. Crying. Scared. Shocked. Completely surrounded by a mass of onlookers… starring at him, starring at me.
And that’s when I saw this video…
Footage of my 14-year-old child—face down, wide eyed, no shoes, knee in his back,
gasping for breath, arms locked—being pinned down by a white, unidentified, off-duty
Chicago police officer.
He was not in uniform. He was not on duty. The allegation? Theft of his son’s bike—even
though my son had his own bike present.
The supposed “proof”? Our son’s hands were on the bike as he was moving it out the
way…. while he was in possession his own bike, right next to him (the orange bike you see
in the video.)
This adult did not use words—he used force; he used his hands. Grabbed our son’s wrists,
body slammed him, then held him down with his knee to forcibly restrain him Teenagers
yelling… trying to pull him up to no avail; my son losing his breath, witnesses telling the
man, “He’s just a kid!”
We’ve talked to our 3 Puerto Rican boys about this moment for years—but you can’t
emotionally prepare for this happening to your own child… then it does.
We can’t possibly put into words how we’re feeling—disgust, anger, frustration, outrage,
💯 Regardless of the circumstances, getting PHYSICAL with a minor as an adult for any
reason other than self defense is UNACCEPTABLE.Would this have been done to our son if he was white? Taller? Older?
We will not let this go away quietly. Because this is bigger than our son. This is your son.
Your neighbor. Your friend.
What example is being set if we stand by idly without speaking up? If we allow fear &
intimidation to keep us silent around the injustices happening to our own?
To all the boys who were there defending our son — thank you. We champion you for your
bravery, our family appreciates you more than you know, and we’re truly sorry you had to
Change starts from within.
And by speaking up against what we know is wrong.
This was wrong. And our family will not stand for it.
Our ask to you? SPEAK UP. Share YOUR story. Because we must shine the light in dark
And please, share this video, spread the word, and amplify our voice so truth is heard and
accountability is held. Because nothing changes if we don’t take a stand.
Social media can get a bad rep, but RIGHT NOW, we have the power to use it for good in
moments like this.
Let’s collectively show the world that we will not tolerate behavior like this.
From our hearts to yours,
Nicole and Angel
The Chicago Police Department said it is conducting its own investigation. The boy’s parents say they plan on filing a lawsuit. Watch the video below.