6-Year-Old Boy Arrested For Picking Flowers At North Carolina Bus Stop
By Sarah Tate
March 25, 2021
A 6-year-old boy in North Carolina was arrested and taken to court for reportedly picking a tulip from a yard at his bus stop. The child recently appeared in front of a judge in juvenile court to face a charge of injury to real property, but because of his young age, he wasn't able to follow along with the court's proceedings, the Winston-Salem Journal reports. Instead, his attorney gave him a coloring book and crayons to keep him busy.
"I asked him to color a picture," said attorney Julie Boyer, "so he did."
The unnamed child ended up in court after his mother couldn't attend an intake meeting. Sending the case in front of a judge meant that, as a defendant, state law would require the 6 year old to assist in his own defense. After the judge realized the boy's mother missed the meeting, he dismissed the case.
"A 6 years old ... we're talking about someone that's in kindergarten, first grade. They don't understand the process, they don't understand what's going on, they probably don't even know their address," said Lyana Hunter, New Hanover County public defender's office, who has been representing juveniles for over a decade, WECT reports. "The earlier that you introduce a child to the criminal justice system, the higher the chances are that they will remain in the criminal justice system."
While the entire case may seem confusing, it has sparked debate on if the boy's race played a factor in the decision to charge a 6 year old for picking a flower. According to the Journal, around 7,300 complaints were filed against children ages 6 to 11 between 2015 and 2018. Of those complaints, nearly half were against Black children, even though only 22% of North Carolina's population is Black and 70% is white.
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