NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Cops roughed up and handcuffed a Harlem student after mistakenly believing that the 15-year-old was too old to use a student MetroCard, the teen claims.
And now the NYPD has opened an investigation into the allegation, the Daily News has learned.
Alexis Sumpter, 15, wasn’t arrested or given a summons during the July 26 interaction — but she says she was shaken and humiliated by the experience.
“They called me liar,” she remembers. “Then they grabbed me by my arms and flung me up the stairs. I kept saying, I’m only 15 — why are you guys doing this?
“They said they didn’t owe me an explanation,” she said.
According to Sumpter, who is a student at Harlem Village Academies, she had just finished summer school and was heading downtown for her first day at a marketing internship on Canal St.
She swiped her student MetroCard — which the Department of Education said is valid until Aug. 17 and was being used properly — at the 125th station and took a seat on the platform bench as she waited for the A train.
Two men approached her, Alexis said, but they were in plainclothes and she was worried they were police imposters. The cops might have approached after seeing a light on the subway turnstile that indicated that a student card had been swiped.
They demanded to know her age, she said. She told them she was 15, but that she had no ID because she was recently mugged for her iPhone and wallet.
“They didn’t approach me in a calm manner and they were very rude the whole time,” she said. “They were talking to me like they were trying to show they were superior to me.”
Near the entrance to the station, a third cop got involved, pressing her face against the wall while the two others cuffed her.
The cops called her dad, William, a Con Ed worker, who vouched for her age. Still disbelieving, they called her mom, who said she raced to the scene, where cops told her that Alexis looked like an adult.
The mom, Marisol Sumpter, raced back to the family home, got her daughter’s birth certificate, and returned to the station — and only then was Alexis uncuffed and released.
It’s not unusual for police to take into custody someone who is suspected of wrongdoing and has no identification, but Alexis’ mother could not believe that three cops would spent 90 minutes on such a trivial matter.
“I definitely think it was over the top,” said Marisol Sumpter, 32, who works in real estate. “They used physical force that was not necessary.”
Alexis, who went to the hospital because the handcuffs caused swelling on her wrists, now takes a different train.
“I don’t want to see them again,” she said. “I don’t want to have to go through that again.”
The NYPD confirmed the probe, but refused to answer any other questions about the incident.