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NYPD Sued Over Handcuffing, Questioning Of 10-Year-Old Girl

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A Bronx girl was removed from class, handcuffed and arrested.

Now, her family is suing the NYPD. CBS 2's Dave Carlin spoke to her on Friday night.

Sofia Bautista didn't mince words while describing the worst day of her young life.

"They arrested me and they shouldn't have arrested me," she said.

A year ago this month, then 10 years old, she was arrested at her school, Garrett A. Morgan P.S. 132, for fighting with a classmate.

"We grabbed each other and started kicking and punching," Sofia said.

A teacher broke up it up. Sofia was the only one sent to the office of the principal, who called her mother and police. Sofia said she was shocked to see the officers and the handcuffs.

"It was too tight," she said.

After a ride in a patrol car in handcuffs to a precinct station house, Sofia said she was questioned all alone, without her mother or an attorney present.

Her mother, who doesn't speak English, said she was kept just outside the room.

"She says she felt incompetent and helpless," the translator for Amarilis Bautista told Carlin.

Steve Goldman, the family's attorney, filed a lawsuit against the NYPD.

"They overreacted," he said.

The NYPD, however, described things differently, saying in a statement: "Contrary to her lawyer's assertions, the girl who assaulted the other girl was not interrogated... the girl's mother joined the girl in the juvenile room of the station house."

"Taking a 10-year-old to a precinct, interrogating her while cuffed to a chair ... the idea that our NYPD is in a position and now wants to defend that is outrageous," Goldman said.

No charges were ever filed. Sofia returned to school and made up with the girl she fought with, but she said she'll never forgive the police.

"I hate police," she said, adding she didn't hate them before the incident.

The family hopes the lawsuit changes the way officers treat the very young, especially when it comes to handcuffs.

The civil suit, which is being heard in federal court, is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.

Do you think the police overreacted? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

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