(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
NEW YORK (CBS/AP) New York officials took Gov. David Paterson's 15-year-old son, Alex Paterson, into custody Tuesday, after he was seen on an Upper West Side street, about two blocks from his school, rolling dice with a group of boys.
(AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Photo: Alex Patterson watches his father get sworn in as New York State's 55th governor on March 18, 2008.
Officials said the Manhattan cops asked Alex Paterson and four other 15-year-old boys for identification. They believed the boys might have been gambling on the street.
Three boys gave identification and were allowed to leave. One boy initially gave the cops a hard time about giving them his name, while Paterson pulled out a bank card that did not have his name on it. According to the New York Daily News, the bank card was issued to another name and reported lost. Officials said the bank card is being investigated.
Photo: New York Governor David Paterson.
Police took Paterson and the other boy to the station house where they were issued juvenile reports for loitering with the purpose of gambling. The other teen was also issued a report for possessing graffiti markers.
A juvenile report is a record of an incident kept on file at the police precinct and with the police department's Youth Services Division until the person turns 17, when it is purged.
Neither teen was arrested or criminally charged. They do not have to appear in court and they were released to their relatives a few hours later.
Gov. Paterson rigorously defended his son on Wednesday. He told Fox News that his son was playing dice, but not for money. He reiterated that his son was not actually arrested and said the debit card found on his son was found in a subway garbage can and never used.
The father of the other arrested teen, who is of black and Latino descent, was outraged that the cops took into custody "kids who happened to be minorities while letting kids of European descent walk away," according to the New York Daily News.
"It's just blatantly wrong," he said outside of the precinct station house last night.
The incident comes as Gov. Paterson, a Democrat, has been trying to dig out of a two-year funk that had left him with the lowest poll numbers of any recent New York governor, lacking support in his party and ridiculed repeatedly on "Saturday Night Live."
His office issued a statement Tuesday confirming his son had been at the 20th Precinct station house and was released to his parents.
"The governor and the first lady ask that their privacy is respected during this personal time," the statement said.
An adult accused of gambling in a similar manner would face a criminal summons, which is akin to a serious moving violation, police said.
Alex Paterson is a student at Beacon High School on Manhattan's Upper West Side, and the incident occurred about two blocks away.