Family of teen kneeled on by off-duty Chicago cop calls incident 'excessive force'

Two suburban parents are calling for justice after an off-duty Chicago police officer was accused of kneeling on their 14-year-old son.

Seeing video of the grown man pinning down their son outside a Park Ridge Starbucks broke the hearts of Angel and Nicole Nieves.

"We hear the broken tears and heartbreaking cries of our son saying get off me, please get off me," said Nicole Nieves, sitting next to her husband during a Zoom press conference Wednesday morning.

You also can hear his friends pleading for the man to move in the video taken July 1st. Now, the Nieves' attorney says they want accountability for that man, an off-duty Chicago police officer.


Antonio Romanucci says the officer believed the boy had stolen his son's bike, but the attorney says the teen was just moving it off the sidewalk to pass through on his own bike.

"When he tried to move that unknown bike, he was approached by a man who behaved aggressively and pinned him to the ground on his stomach and put a knee in his back. The officer used excessive force on a child. He escalated a situation where no aggression was necessary at all," said Romanucci.

"Physically our son is OK. Right now, we're concerned about his mental well-being, his emotional well-being as well," said Angel Nieves.

The family says the incident was racial profiling, with the white officer accusing the only boy of color in the group — a child who is Puerto Rican American

"We see the bias of an off-duty cop taking advantage of our brown boy with afro hair, smaller in stature, choosing to take the law into his own hands with physical force, a clear abuse of his position authority, the authority meant to protect my son, not harm him," said Nicole Nieves.

Park Ridge police met with prosecutors from the Cook County State's Attorney's Office on Wednesday and presented them with all reports, videos and body camera videos related to the incident. The attorney's office and Park Ridge police are working together on the ongoing investigation.

Chicago police have also started an internal investigation and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) says it is in the beginning stages of investigating.

The Nieves' family wants the officer to face charges. Their lawyer says to expect legal action.

Park Ridge police are asking anyone who has additional information about the event or captured it on video to call them at (847) 318-5256.