Police

Teen Locked Up for 40 Days Because He (Allegedly) Threw a Snowball Sues Cops, School

No eyewitnesses, no evidence he did it.

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Snowball
Dreamstime

Eighteen-year-old Dominique Rondeau is suing Detroit Public Schools and two police officers who placed him in custody for allegedly throwing an icy snowball at a cop car after classes ended on December 16, 2013. The snowball broke the car's window, and Rondeau was tossed in a juvenile detention facility for 40 days.

Rondeau, 16 at the time of the incident, said he didn't do it. The cops didn't see him do it, either. And yet they claimed it was him—even though surveillance footage made it impossible to tell who had thrown the snowball.

According to The Detroit Free Press:

Neither officer saw Rondeau, then a 16-year-old sophomore, commit the crime. But both said they clearly spotted him on security camera footage.

When the video was played in court, however, they couldn't identify the perpetrator. The charge was swiftly dismissed, leaving Rondeau and his family relieved but seeking answers.

"The only evidence they had was the camera, and the camera couldn't see anything," Rondeau, now 18, said.

To review: there was no good evidence that Rondeau was the perpetrator of this minor crime. But it took more than a month for his lawyers to persuade a judge to release him—he spent Christmas and New Year's Eve in a detention facility.

Rondeau's lawsuit alleges false arrest and malicious prosecution. The Detroit criminal justice system certainly seems like it's out to get him; one day after the court tossed the snowball charge, cops resubmitted a previous charge of assault and resisting arrest. The charge stemmed from an earlier altercation between Rondeau and a police officer that was ignored by prosecutors because it had been improperly filed. (Losing the snowball case inspired the police to give it another try, it seems.) Rondeau was eventually found responsible of that charge.

The Free Press article notes that Rondeau is "emotionally impaired." Clearly, this is a kid with some behavioral issues. He may have acted irresponsibly around the police. He may have even thrown that snowball, although there is no evidence that he did.

But is this the best the education and law enforcement systems can do for him: turn him into a convicted criminal before he reaches adulthood? Imagine the (legitimate) contempt he must feel for institutions of authority. Over-criminalization of petty offenses does not create trust between minority communities and the cops, and it does not transform troubled teens into model citizens: it makes them more dangerous, by taking away their incentive to behave themselves.

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  1. Can we just sell Detroit to OCP already? Sure, they’re corrupt, but they can’t be more corrupt than Detroit’s actual government and government services, can they?

    1. I think they’d at least do a better job at restoring prosperity. The question is which dystopia do you want? I’d pick the corporatist one because the quality of life would be better.

      1. It’s a great time, right up until Red shows up and says “Bitches, leave”.

    2. The new robocop movie is nowhere near as entertaining as the original. Hell even Robocop 2 was better than the reboot

      1. How’s the new terminator movie?

        1. Terminator 2 was great, but it’s hardly ‘new’ at this point.

          1. How’s the terminator movie in theaters now?

            1. There are still theaters? I thought they all went out of business years ago.

            2. The wife and I saw it last night. I enjoyed it. Lots of action, not much plot wise, some cheesy Arnold one liners, basically all you need for a fun summer action movie. If you do go see, try not to spend too much time thinking about all the time travel…

              1. Thanks. I watched “Primer” this past weekend. Talk about confusing time travel.

      2. …the roboot.

    3. At least that way “Serve the Public Trust” is the cops’ first directive.

    4. At first (due to the distraction of eating a sandwich and just being in a generally unfocused mood) I read that sentence as “Can we just sell Detroit to ICP already?”

  2. Yabut, the cops said! So it must be true, beyond any doubt!

    1. What else can an occupying force do?

  3. THEY FEARED FOR THEIR LIVES!

  4. But is this the best the education and law enforcement systems can do for him: turn him into a convicted criminal before he reaches adulthood?

    What you guys don’t get is that they don’t think they turned him into a criminal!!!!!

    Kids don’t get charged with crimes; they get charged with delinquency. They aren’t found guilty or not guilty; they are found responsible or not responsible. They don’t go to prison; they go to juvenile detention.

    Therefore, a juvenile proceeding isn’t harming a child at all!

    1. They don’t get a criminal record, they get a juvenile record, and juvenile records can be sealed or expunged if you get a court to sign off after paying an attorney a grip of cash to file for it several years afterward, assuming the crime was not a felony. Everything’s coming up Milhouse.

      1. Of course, if you want to join the military or get government work, then that sealed document suddenly isn’t sealed anymore.

  5. There was a time that cops merely would have grabbed this kid by the arm, and maybe made him sweep up around the station for an afternoon.

    *putting aside the obvious issue that there was no evidence he committed the “crime” in the first place*

    1. Come on Paul, even if he wasn’t guilty this time, you can be sure that he was no angel. I mean, just look at his name. Who names a boy Dominique? He’s probably not only a thuggy street thug, but he also probably uses the wrong bathroom at school. Cops are definitely probably justified in curbstomping him to death to maintain an orderly society.

      1. “Who names a boy Dominique?”

        Mrs. Wilkins.

      2. Come on Paul, even if he wasn’t guilty this time, you can be sure that he was no angel.

        The Amanda Marcotte Theorem

          1. The Amanda Marcotte Theorem

            I’m picturing something similar to The Big Bang Theory except instead of 4 dorky nerds the main characters are all 4 SJW feminists who work as adminstrators in the Office of Gender Equality or some such horseshit at a university, and instead of a hot blond chick as the neighbor, the neighbor’s Ron Swanson.

  6. Hey, I feel contempt for “institutions of authority” and I’ve never had a police encounter other than a speeding ticket.

    Cops lie, all the time, and everywhere. They lie on their police reports. They lie in court. They lie to get a fellow cop out of a jam. They lie, lie, lie, and lie again. It’s their nature. There are no, none, nada, zip, zero good cops. They are all filthy low-life scumbags.

    1. I saw a video of a braindead tumblrite trying to pull a “I’m a free citizen and not bound by your laws” schtick on a cop. He showed massively admirable restraint, but it did end about as well as you might expect for the tumblrite. Or better, since she was alive an uninjured at the end of the encounter. Her big complaint was that he removed her bag when placing her under arrest and handcuffing her.

      Nothing from early in the video suggested she was going to be in any trouble until she kept escalating it with the “your laws don’t apply to me” bullshit.

      I’m still amazed at the restraint he showed relative to the reputation cops have.

  7. It’s like the predator-prey relationship on the African savanna. The slowest, dumbest one gets caught. Kid needs to learn to run away from the predators cops quicker.

    1. Running just proves guilt and if you make a cop run you’re likely to be shot in the back.

      1. I’m assuming this kid was in a crowd of other kids & adults. He probably got caught because he didn’t scram fast enough. That’s the point I’m making.

  8. ‘The snowball broke the car’s window…’

    What the fuck kind of “snowball” was he throwing?

    1. I was thinking the kid has a hell of an arm.

    2. A Calvin snowball? “1/2 snow, 1/4 ice, 1/4 slush, and a dash of assorted debris.”

  9. Tulpa has a sad. Only 40 days? He should have been shot in the face.

  10. It had the thing that goes up. You know, an Assault Snowball.

  11. Imagine the (legitimate) contempt he must feel for institutions of authority.

    Yes, libertarians, try to put yourselves in his shoes, for crying out loud.

  12. Can you imagine being locked up and trying to throw a tough guy vibe when you’re in jail for throwing a snowball? You’d get beat up by the kid in there for cutting off mattress tags.

  13. This is what he gets for staying in Detroit.

  14. Clearly, the solution is to ban snow.

  15. This is state property and he had intentions to harm it. What was he expecting for his did, a lollipop? I do not blame the police even a bit here. This guy is pretty much a young adult, he should’ve seen this coming. To be honest it really makes me sad whenever young people act this way. They should pursue education and look for solution from essay writing service to get into college. But instead they party, smoke and harm those around them. Not the best way to start your independent life.

    1. Yknow, I never really thought about it that way. At least jail will help him, um, yeah.

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