Advocates Hang Hopes on Hung-Up Albany Bills to Curb Aggressive Police Interrogations of Kids

Originally published in The City on July 13, 2020.

Isaiah was first questioned by police when he was 11, after witnessing the murder of a family member. Five years later, he was interrogated — this time, about “accusations” made against a friend.

Both times, he was read his rights and he didn’t want to talk, he said. But ultimately, that didn’t matter: The pressure he felt as a kid facing the police in an interrogation room didn’t make silence feel like an option, he told THE CITY.

“To be honest, I feel like I had to,” said the East New York teen, who didn’t want his real name published.

Having immediate access to a lawyer, said Isaiah, would give other kids a better chance than he had when faced with police questioning.

A second, less expansive bill, sponsored by State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn), would also amend the state Family Court Act to make sure that all questioning of minors, and the Miranda waivers that proceed them, would be video recorded.

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