Courtney Silvera, age 10, was eating cereal at 7 a.m. on Jan. 30, 2013, when the police knocked on the door. They were looking for his mother's ex-boyfriend, who had possibly violated an order of protection. His grandmother, who is suffering from brain and lung cancer, answered the door but had difficulty understanding the cops' reason for being there, New York's Daily News reports. So Courtney grabbed his mom's cellphone and began recording the conversation.
One cop didn't like that, so he kicked the boy in the shin, breaking his leg, according to a complaint filed in Brooklyn Federal Court and seen by the Daily News.
"The police had come to our house before [due to the domestic violence complaint], and he's fascinated by the police; he looks up to them," Courtney's mom, Krystle Silvera, 30, a nursing student at Long Island University, told the Daily News in an exclusive interview.
Silvera was upstairs getting her 5-year-old daughter ready for school when she heard the commotion. "I heard my son screaming, 'You can't do that! You're hurting me! Don't hit me!' " she said. She bolted downstairs, dressed only in her underclothes, to see what was going on. She alleges that she was grabbed by a police officer who pulled her out in the freezing cold, the Daily News reports.
According to the suit, Silvera's pierced breast popped out of her bra while she was being restrained.
"The officer flicked the piercing. he flicked the ring up with his finger on my right breast," she told the Daily News. "He said, 'Is this what mothers look like these days?' My neighbors saw me naked. It was degrading. I can deal with the embarrassment of what [the police] did to me in front of my neighbors, but the hardest thing is explaining to my kids that not all police are bad."
Silvera was charged with assaulting the cops and was released two days later on $1,500 bail. She would later plead guilty to disorderly conduct, the Daily News reports.
Once she returned home, she noticed that her son's leg was bruised and swollen. Courtney was taken to the hospital, where an X-ray showed that his leg was fractured.
"I've seen a lot of police-brutality cases, but nothing as low as this, kicking a 10-year-old boy," said the family's lawyer, Anthony Ofodile.
Silvera is currently seeking unspecified monetary damages for the alleged civil rights violations, the Daily News reports.
An NYPD spokeswoman told the Daily News that the Internal Affairs Bureau has opened an investigation based on the allegations in the suit.
Although Courtney's leg was fractured, his dream of one day being a detective hasn't been broken. "I told my mom being a detective would be cool," he told the Daily News. "I want to be a better detective than the one who did this."