A Washington Township mom says her son was denied justice after he was permanently disfigured by another teen who deliberately dragged him with his car while punching him in the face, nearly killing him.
His assailants convinced the boy to come out that late January night “with the intention of robbing him of his money and belongings,” Michelle Reyes said.
“Junior reached into the car to give a handshake to the driver,” Reyes told Daily Voice. “That’s when the driver grabbed my son’s arm and pinned it by raising the window.
“Then he placed his foot on the gas and drove off, dragging my son for nearly 10 blocks.
“As this was happening, my son was crying and screaming for him to stop the car,” she said. “My son recalls the car running 50mph. The driver was my punching him in his face, and a second kid was in back laughing while they were calling him racist names.”
The juveniles involved should have faced more serious consequences, Reyes said.
She also called a report by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office that the boy was selling drugs to his assailants false.
“My son was never arrested or in trouble with the law,” Reyes said. “He was an honor student, an athlete, an aspiring model with big dreams that were cut because of this.
“There was never no sale of any drugs,” she said. “Nothing substantial was ever found at the scene, or on my son, for them to write such a defamatory [news release]. All this was alleged, not proven with evidence.”
As a result, Reyes claimed, her son wasn’t allowed to return to Paramus Catholic High School, got poor legal representation and essentially was treated like a criminal and not a victim.
“They came out of the car and began kicking and calling him a ‘spic’. My son was in shock and asked them: ‘Why are you doing this to me? I thought you were my friend.’
“They were laughing and watching him run home with a dislocated shoulder, disfigured face, teeth blown out, road rash.
“We found him dying. He lost two pints of blood crying out for help – all for $60….God was with my boy. They went to kill him.”
Authorities should have charged the juveniles as adults, Reyes insisted.
It doesn’t end there, however.
Reyes said a township detective interviewed her 13-year-old daughter without permission “and continued to text her behind our back,” she said. “That is how they got the false information on my son.”
The same detective referred the family to a lawyer whose “lack of professionalism and misconduct has caused my son to be victimized over and over again,” Reyes claimed.
“The cops in town never took any pictures of my son at the hospital. Any pictures I have of him are what we took,” she said. “The cops never took the kids’ clothes as evidence.
“The clothes were bloody, since they came out of the car and continued to beat my son,” Reyes said. “We told this to the police repeatedly and they never placed it on the police report.
“The police department never took pictures of the scene of the crime, and if they did we have yet to see them. They called the prosecutor’s office around 10 p.m. and they arrived around 11ish. By that time, a lot of cleanup was done and the story of my son being a ‘drug dealer’ came about.”
The county prosecutor’s office, which handled the case, doesn’t comment on investigations or prosecutions involving juveniles, citing state confidentiality laws.
At the time, Acting Prosecutor Dennis Calo said in a release that the 16-year-old victim was selling drugs to the driver, who he said had no intention of paying ( see release below ).
The driver sped off in the vehicle, with the victim holding on until he eventually fell off, the prosecutor said.
He was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center with facial and head trauma and a compound leg fracture, Calo said.
The assault apparently was recorded by another teen on cellphone video, a ranking law enforcement official told Daily Voice, adding that a group that was with driver had “previous encounters” with the victim.
The prosecutor's Major Crimes Unit investigated, assisted by local police, and took the driver into custody.
Appearances were conducted in the Family Part of Superior Court, which are held privately because the accused are juveniles.
According to Reyes, the driver received 60 days in juvenile detention and was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service.
That’s not nearly enough, she said.
“The driver to the car has connections,” Reyes concluded. “We were railroaded.
“We are hard-working people with a loving family. We’re minorities in town. We are not criminals,” she said.
“We didn’t move to Washington Township for my son to be assaulted," Reyes added. "All we wanted was a better life for our children.
“What they did to my son will never bring back the original face I gave birth to. I will die letting everyone know that my son is innocent.”
TO: ALL NEWS MEDIA
FROM: ACTING PROSECUTOR DENNIS CALO
DATE: FEBRUARY 1, 2019
Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo announced the arrest of a 17-year-old JUVENILE from Washington Township, NJ, on charges of Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Endangering An Injured Victim, Leaving The Scene Of A Motor Vehicle Accident Resulting In Serious Bodily Injury, and Assault By Auto. The arrest is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office under the direction of Chief Robert Anzilotti, and the Washington Township Police Department under the direction of Chief Glenn Hooper.
On Monday, January 28, 2019, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office received information that a serious assault had occurred in Washington Township, and that a motor vehicle was possibly used as a weapon.
The investigation revealed that the 16-year-old victim was selling narcotics to a JUVENILE, who intended to take the narcotics without paying the victim. A fight ensued, at which time the JUVENILE drove away from the location with the victim hanging onto the outside of his vehicle.
The victim subsequently fell off of the moving vehicle, suffering serious bodily injury.
The JUVENILE then fled the scene without reporting the incident to police. The victim was transported to Hackensack University Medical Center where he is currently listed in stable condition.
On Wednesday, January 30, 2019, the JUVENILE was charged with acts of juvenile delinquency based on allegations of Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Endangering An Injured Victim, Leaving The Scene Of A Motor Vehicle Accident Resulting In Serious Bodily Injury, and Assault By Auto. The JUVENILE will appear before the Family Part of the Superior Court of New Jersey.
Acting Prosecutor Calo states that the charges are merely accusations and that the juvenile is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and would also like to thank the Washington Township Police Department for its assistance in this investigation.
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