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DA Drops Charges Against Park Slope Student Handcuffed Over Broken Glasses

By Leslie Albrecht | June 17, 2015 11:40am | Updated on June 17, 2015 12:34pm
 The Brooklyn District Attorney's office dropped its case against Noah Phillpotts, his lawyer said Wednesday.
Charges Dropped Against Teen Handcuffed Over Broken Glasses
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PARK SLOPE — The District Attorney has dropped the charges against a teen who was handcuffed and pinned to the ground after he refused to give his glasses to school safety agents — and he's now preparing to file a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city and NYPD.

The Brooklyn District Attorney's office dismissed the disorderly conduct charge against 19-year-old Noah Phillpotts in court on Tuesday, defense attorney Gabriel Harvis said.

Phillpotts, who wasn't at the hearing because he was taking a Regents exam at the time, is "glad the criminal case is over," Harvis told DNAinfo New York.

After he graduates this month, Phillpotts will move forward with a federal civil rights lawsuit over the incident, Harvis said. He filed a notice of claim against the city on May 22.

“This case speaks to broader issues about the role of police in our schools and whether we want to live in a society where children going to school are forced to undergo very intrusive searches and high degrees of security just to go to class," Harvis said.

"We think, and Noah thinks, that it’s not conducive to the learning process for the students. This is hopefully one step in the process of changing the city’s policy on that.”

Phillpotts was issued a summons for disorderly conduct on March 26 after school safety agents at Park Slope Collegiate high school stopped him at the school's security checkpoint and asked him to hand over a pair of glasses that Phillpotts had repaired with a pin.

School safety agents thought the pin was a security threat, despite the fact that Phillpotts had been wearing the pin in his glasses for weeks, Harvis said.

When Phillpotts refused to comply, school safety agents wrestled him to the ground and handcuffed him, according to the school's PTA. 

School safety officers decided to release Philpotts without arrest, and his principal brought him into her office and asked him to write a statement about the incident, according to the PTA.

As Philpotts was writing his account of what happened to him, NYPD officers who did not work in the school rushed into the room and handcuffed him again and placed him under arrest, the PTA said.

Philpotts was ultimately issued a summons that charged him with "violent and threatening behavior" and described him as "swinging his arms and yelling when asked to remove his glasses."

At a meeting after the incident, NYPD officials told Philpotts and his family that the charges would probably be dropped, but that their hands were tied and they could not withdraw a summons once it was issued, so Phillpotts still had to answer to the charges in court on Tuesday.

The confrontation between Phillpotts and the school safety agents sparked a protest at Park Slope Collegiate that Mayor Bill de Blasio's son Dante attended.

School leaders have long fought the presence of metal detectors in the building, which houses three other high schools.

The city's Law Department and the Department of Education did not immediately respond to calls for comment.