BROOKLYN — A Park Slope high school student who was allegedly assaulted and detained by NYPD school safety agents after they deemed his broken eyeglasses a security threat is fighting the NYPD after they backtracked on promises to drop charges against him, his father said.
Relatives of Noah Phillpotts, a 19-year-old senior at Park Slope Collegiate, collected more than 150 signatures overnight on a Change.org petition calling on the NYPD and DOE to halt prosecution against the teen.
“My son was just trying to go to school when this happened," Noah's father, Erick Phillpotts — who goes by the name DJ Erick La Peau and has spun at events hosted by the likes of Sean "Diddy" Combs and Prince — said in a statement on Friday. "He did nothing wrong, and should not be subjected to a criminal prosecution. We want the city to withdraw the summons as promised."
Noah Phillpotts was handcuffed twice and nearly arrested after NYPD school safety agents manning the school's controversial metal detectors noticed the pin he had been using for weeks to hold together his broken glasses and confiscated the glasses on March 26.
After he reached to retrieve them, safety agents restrained him, "brought him to the ground, pinned him down, and handcuffed him,” according to the school's PTA. He was in the principal's office, writing down an account of what happened when a set of NYPD officers rushed in and put him in handcuffs a second time, threatening him with arrest, according to the PTA.
He was issued a summons for disorderly conduct that requires him to appear in court on June 16, the petition said. In a meeting at the school after the incident, high-ranking NYPD and DOE officials told the Phillpotts and the school's principal the charges would be dropped, the petition says.
But police officials said Friday that they cannot dismiss a summons once it's written, adding that Phillpotts will have to go through the process of showing up in court to adjudicate the charges.
The DOE has no jurisdiction over criminal summonses.
"The summons will be adjudicated in Youth Court," NYPD spokeswoman Deputy Chief Kim Royster told DNAinfo New York. "However, after the incident NYPD and DOE officials have discussed the situation and decided what steps should be taken going forward to assist the student and the parents involved [for the hearing]."
NYPD officials claimed Noah Phillpotts became confrontational when school safety agents asked for his glasses and an agent was struck in the eye and sustained minor injuries during the incident. They said at the time that the case was referred to the Internal Affairs Bureau and will be investigated by the Civilian Complaint Review Board, but declined to say what the outcome of the investigations were.
The incident at the school — one of four at the John Jay Educational Campus — led PTA members to circulate a letter about what happened and sparked protests that attracted Mayor Bill de Blasio's son, Dante.
Students and parents at the Park Slope high school campus have been calling for the removal of the complex's metal detectors. The PTA at Park Slope Collegiate, a middle and high school, demanded the city remove the scanners, saying they foster a "culture of mistrust" at a school where "unity through diversity" is the motto.
“The racial disparity in the policing of our city schools demands immediate reform," said Gabriel Harvis, the lawyer representing Phillpotts. "Students like Noah have the constitutional right to enter their school without being subjected to an automatic police stop.”