A retired Passaic County sheriff captain and a 15-year-old boy who met in Fair Lawn earlier this summer ended up in a confrontation in a viral video.
But they met again on Aug. 29, and this time, with some community support, they ended up in a much better place. They even shook hands.
“We wanted to send a strong message that when there’s a problem, there can be a positive outcome,” said Fair Lawn Mayor Kurt Peluso, who was at the meeting at the borough’s municipal building, and whose police department later issued a press release about the meeting and a photo of the hand shake.
Retired sheriff’s captain Frank Brady, 15-year-old Cyrus Silverio, his father Robert Silverio of Clifton, Fair Lawn Police Chief Glen Cauwels and a still unidentified woman, who called police about the boys biking at the apartment complex that day, were also at the meeting.
Police said the woman called after one of the boys fell off his bike and hit his head. The boys, upset that the woman called police, argued with her, police said. The woman then apparently called Brady, who got into a confrontation with the teen on video.
At that first encounter on Aug. 5, Brady, who has worked more recently as a safety director at a local construction company, swears and waves his badge.
(Notice: The video contains some offensive language.)
The video received 112,000 views on Facebook after it was posted by group 1 Million African: The Trilogy, and was shared by many others.
It was hotly debated online whether this was an example of the type of inappropriate relationship some officers have with young people in the Black community, or if the former law enforcement officer should have approached the teen about his manners.
Laura Cohen, director of Rutgers University’s Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic, said previously that this confrontation shouldn’t have happened.
“That’s an immediate escalation of a situation that should have never led to any police interaction at all. It’s an immediate excursion of physical control from the moment the officer approaches the young boy,” said Cohen, who is also a former employee for the New York City Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Division.
According to the mayor, both parties talked about how they could have handled the situation differently.
The teen’s father said when he saw the video he was upset about how the former officer approached his son, but he also was upset when he found out his son may have been disrespectful toward a woman in the video.
“That’s not the way someone should talk to a kid, but I know I did the right thing by taking my son to apologize to the woman and talk to the officers,” Silverio said. “It’s all about respect, but I think it was a good experience for him.”
Mayor Peluso said although the family lives in Clifton, police officials offered Cyrus a chance to participate the Fair Lawn’s police youth academy.
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