A Statement from the Meitivs about the Detainment of their Kids

Here’s the police report on Sunday night’s seizure of the Meitiv kids by the Montgomery County cops and CPS for the unthinkable crime of…playing outside on a sunny afternoon. And here is the Meitivs’ statement (boldface mine). Quick question: Aren’t prisoners allowed one phone call, or is that just on TV? Because the Meitiv kids were not allowed to contact their parents in the six hours they were held by the authorities:

Meitivs Vow to Fight Unlawful Seizure of Children by Maryland CPS

April 14, 2015

Washington, DC — On a sunny Sunday afternoon, when children should be playing outdoors and enjoying the weather, Danielle and Alexander Meitiv’s children were subjected to a terrifying detainment that no child should have to experience. Shockingly, the Meitiv children experienced this maltreatment at the hands of the very government officials who are entrusted to uphold the law and ensure that children in need are taken care of.

Despite being three short blocks from their home, the Meitiv children—Rafi (10) and Dvora (6)—were stopped at approximately 5 P.M. on Sunday afternoon by police officers in three squad cars simply because Rafi and Dvora were walking home. The police interrogated the children, and Rafi explained that they were walking home and were just three blocks from their house. The police demanded that the children get into one of the police cars, under the misleading “assurance” that the police would bring them home. The children told the police that they know where they live and they would like to call home. The police never called Danielle or Alexander even though the police had all their contact information. Nor did they allow Rafi and Dvora to call their parents.

The Meitiv children were confined to the back of a police car for almost three hours without any explanation of why they were being detained. The Meitiv children were then transported to the Montgomery County Crisis Center for further detention. During this entire time, the children had no access to food and only limited access to the restroom. After a series of delays and decisions by CPS and the police, CPS did not release the children to Danielle and Alexander until 10:30 P.M., and the children did not return home until about 11 P.M. on a school night.

Due to the actions of Maryland CPS and Montgomery County Police, the children were:
— detained in a police car for almost three hours,
— kept from their parents for over six hours without access to food, and
— not returned to the parents until almost midnight on the night before school.

Matthew Dowd, a partner with Wiley Rein, states: “The Meitivs are rightfully outraged by the irresponsible actions of Maryland CPS and Montgomery County Police. We must ask ourselves how we reached the point where a parent’s biggest fear is that government officials will literally seize our children off the streets as they walk in our neighborhoods. The Meitivs intend to fully vindicate their rights as parents and their children’s rights, and to prevent this from happening to their children again. The CPS investigations and actions here are premised on a fundamental misapplication of the law and are contrary to the constitutional rights of these parents to raise their children as they see best.”

The actions of Maryland CPS and Montgomery County Police violate the fundamental rights parents have in raising their children. In Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 75 (2000), the Court explained that “the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.” This fundamental, constitutional right of parents cannot be infringed simply because certain governmental employees disagree with a parent’s reasoned decision on how to raise his or her children.

The Meitivs are troubled by the county’s discretionary use of power to subject this happy, healthy and independent family to invasive, frightening and unnecessary government oversight, when there are other pressing challenges for county families in need.

Wiley Rein is honored to represent the Meitivs on a pro bono basis in their effort to vindicate their parental rights. Wiley Rein team comprises Matthew Dowd, Megan Brown, Parker Lavin, Tyler Robinson, Wesley Weeks, and Sara Luxenberg. Wiley Rein intends to pursue all legal remedies to protect the Meitivs’ parental rights. Wiley Rein is working with Thomas DeGonia of Ethridge Quinn Kemp McAuliffe Rowan & Hartinger and David DeLugas of the National Association of Parents.

Let’s hear it for Wiley Rein! Meantime, if you’d like to join the National Association of Parents — as I have — here you go. And remember: One way to make sure this kind of craziness stops is to bring the Free-Range Kids and Parents Bill of Rights to your statehouse or city council. It states: “Children have the right to some unsupervised time, and parents have the right to give it to them without being arrested.”

Also without having their kids taken away for six hours. – L.

Were the cops right to detain the Meitiv kids? (Why the heck am I writing that as a question???)

Were the cops right to detain the Meitiv kids? (Why the heck am I writing that as a question???)

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64 Responses to A Statement from the Meitivs about the Detainment of their Kids

  1. Jon April 14, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

    It’s just on TV.
    Short version of reality is “It depends, and it’s complicated.”

    If arrested you have the right to counsel, so the mythical phone call is presumptively to contact a lawyer.
    See
    http://blogs.findlaw.com/blotter/2013/05/do-you-have-a-right-to-phone-calls-after-arrest.html

    http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2014/05/really-entitled-phonecall-arrested/

  2. Stacey April 14, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

    Sounds like serious overreach and interpretation of law. They have not broken any law or statute. The cops and CPS, on the other hand, have conspired to punish, kidnap and otherwise harass this family.

    Kafka is laughing his head off at us.

  3. Katie April 14, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

    Good for them! What they are doing benefits all of us. Frankly, I’m not sure I would have the guts to stand up to an obviously vindictive government department. I think (hope) they have the law on their side. Certainly, they have common sense on their side. Keep us posted!

  4. BL April 14, 2015 at 2:07 pm #

    “Frankly, I’m not sure I would have the guts to stand up to an obviously vindictive government department.”

    I suppose when you were born in the USSR, CPS doesn’t look completely scary.

  5. Bose in Phoenix AZ April 14, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    “The officer observed a homeless subject who he was familiar with, eyeing the children. This male subject remained in the area during the time that the officer was there with the children.”

    Huh? Should our kids never be allowed to explore a library where a homeless person might be “eyeing” them?

    Let’s not be surprised when the argument comes back that the only way to keep the kids safe from kidnapping was to kidnap them.

  6. jerzyna April 14, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

    It is great that in an increasingly insane world there are still people that keep their sanity. Kudos to Danielle and Alexander Meitiv!

  7. Warren April 14, 2015 at 3:12 pm #

    I wonder what the police would do had the boy handed them the business card for the family’s attorney, and said “Please call this number and talk to them.”.

  8. Anna April 14, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

    Good luck to them!

    About the homeless person “eyeing them”: I assume that means he looked at them? He couldn’t possibly have been curious about why three squad cars were arresting two small children, could he?

    It must be fun to be homeless and have all eye-contact classified as “eyeing.”

  9. Sharon April 14, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

    I wonder if the police and CPS weren’t trying to teach the Meitivs a “lesson”.

    i.e. See how frantic you’d feel if you couldn’t find your kids. That’s what will happen if you continue to let them play unsupervised!

    (And really, THREE cop cars for a couple of kids out walking??)

  10. JKP April 14, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

    This part of the police report jumps out at me as really, really suspicious:

    “On Sunday, April 12 at approximately 4:58 p.m., the Montgomery County Emergency Call Center received a call to check the welfare of two children in the area of Fenton and Easley Streets. The call was dispatched at 5:00 p.m. and the first officer arrived in the area at 5:01 p.m.”

    So an “anonymous caller” reported seeing the children and in less than 1 minute the police had arrived at the scene???

    There’s obviously no caller at all. This was completely the actions of the police in retaliation for the previous incident.

  11. Sandi April 14, 2015 at 3:55 pm #

    Interesting how the police report cites the children’s need for food and water, and how the officers supplied them with their own water bottles and lunch. The kids were only hungry, thirsty and in need of the bathroom because they were being detained in the police cars. They would have been fine if they’d been allowed to go home by 6, as they had planned.

    With this case in the news as much as it has been, I bet this is a combination of busybodies keeping their eyes out for the famous neglected children, and the cops feeling disrespected.

    There is no excuse in my mind for the police not contacting the kids parents to at least let them know where the kids were. it really smells like they were trying to teach the parents a lesson…much like the misguided family that terrorized their own kid with a faked ‘kidnapping’. See how it feels when your kid goes missing? Now you’ll know better than to let them out of your sight before they’re teenagers!

  12. Jill April 14, 2015 at 3:56 pm #

    Three squad cars. Three. Squad. Cars.
    Because two children were walking home from the park.
    If that’s not enough proof that America is dangerously close to becoming a police state I don’t know what is.
    May the attorneys at Wiley Rein really stick it to these idiots who would rather harass innocent families than investigate real crimes. And BTW, the excuse that the kids were in danger because a homeless man was looking at them is just pathetic. If the “male subject” (ooh! Scary cop language) hung around while the police were there it was unlikely that he had any sinister intent. A bad guy would have slunk away.

  13. Havva April 14, 2015 at 4:07 pm #

    @ Sandi said “Interesting how the police report cites the children’s need for food and water, and how the officers supplied them with their own water bottles and lunch.”

    Actually they said the officer provided water and offered his lunch but Rafi (no they didn’t use his name, but let’s give these kids the dignity of using their names) pointed out that he and Devora have food allergies. … Imagine that a kid able to speak up and articulate the problem and correct action, even when an authority figure is offering something tempting but potentially dangerous. Yet CPS deems Rafi too helpless to go in his own back yard without mommy or daddy.

  14. CLE, PhD April 14, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

    The moment that we allow government officials to dictate how we raise our children, how we run our homes, and the moment that we have to defend our actions on how we raise our children where there is not danger; this is in total conflict with the freedoms of our country.

    It is the actions of this one family that helps remind each one of us just how easy it is to lose the so called freedoms that we have. Freedom is an assumed life style that we believe that we have and in reality at any moment we can lose it without any regard to how we feel.

    It is vital that this family doesn’t stand alone for it is so easy for others not to get involved. When we don’t get involved that is when they can take assumed control over us as a society.

    This type of fear that police, CPS and governmental authorities bring to the table is the fear that continues to haunt the registrants of this country. The more fear that they generate enables them to force their power and authority over society.
    As one stated, that because a homeless person is on the front steps of the library looking at children doesn’t mean anything bad is going to happen. Fear factor.

  15. Donna April 14, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

    “So an “anonymous caller” reported seeing the children and in less than 1 minute the police had arrived at the scene???

    There’s obviously no caller at all. This was completely the actions of the police in retaliation for the previous incident.”

    While I don’t put it above cops to lie, do you really think that the police department has had a car sitting in the Meitiv’s neighborhood 24/7 for weeks just to retaliate against them for … I’m not even sure what since the Meitivs didn’t really win anything last time?

  16. Havva April 14, 2015 at 4:28 pm #

    I note the constitutional claim. I hope Wiley Rein takes this clear to the supreme court.

    Our kids may be in danger of busy bodies with cell phones. But now my cell is armed too, with an entry for a law firm that gets it.

  17. J.T. Wenting April 14, 2015 at 4:30 pm #

    That should teach them that their children belong to the government, not to them…

    Which is the message CPS and the police here are trying to convey of course.

    And that’s what “free society” has come to, a police state where you can be taken at the whim of a police officer and detained indefinitely without access to legal representation, food or drink, or even toilet facilities.

  18. J.T. Wenting April 14, 2015 at 4:34 pm #

    “While I don’t put it above cops to lie, do you really think that the police department has had a car sitting in the Meitiv’s neighborhood 24/7 for weeks just to retaliate against them for”

    wouldn’t surprise me at all. Much easier than going after real criminals, and far less risky. Couple of kids with nice decent parents aren’t going to try to kill you, unlike armed muggers trying to rob a petrol station across town for example.
    And if the weather is nice, it’s a great way to spend the time away from the chief and grab some donuts and coffee from the shop nearby, “donated” of course by the shop, completely voluntary in exchange for not being written up for something minor.

  19. JKP April 14, 2015 at 4:51 pm #

    Donna – No, I am not in any way implying that a police car was tasked with stalking these kids. Obviously that would be over the top unbelievable.

    I’m suggesting that the police car happened to be passing by and called it in themselves, not that they were intentionally looking for these kids. The 1 minute response time seems suspicious.

  20. Abigail April 14, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

    So who is responsible if children are detained and parents are not contacted in the event of an allergy crisis?

  21. Havva April 14, 2015 at 4:56 pm #

    *and when I said take it to the supreme court, I of course mean that I hope they win big. That they prove the right of liberty for our kids on a national level, not just fixing the Metivi’s problem, or Montgomery County’s problem, or Maryland’s problem. But the whole problem in the US that the opinion of a bureaucracy can expand so far beyond the law and human needs as to enforce supervision where the law specifically carved out an exception to the requirement for supervision. And well past the age where we all had responsibilities as well as freedom.

    I also think it is a due process problem that the children get neither their parents nor a lawyer in part because CPS (the very entity imprisoning them) is claiming to represent them.

  22. Havva April 14, 2015 at 5:01 pm #

    @JKP,
    I think there is another explanation. Silver Spring once wasn’t so nice, some would say scary. And they cleaned up their city. I bet as part of that they built their police force. And now that there is very little crime. But what do you bet they didn’t cut the police force from the days of beating back gangs? So the still have an s- tone of officers. Enough squad cars to be anywhere in a minute for anything. And enough loose officers for 3 patrol cars to show up to… well just about the only excitement in town.

  23. Erin April 14, 2015 at 5:02 pm #

    That police department has just made it harder for every other police department in the country to do their job. I for one will be sure to tell my kids they do not need to get into a police car unless they are under arrest, and to scream bloody murder, rape, and fire if they are forced and not under arrest.

  24. Donald April 14, 2015 at 5:23 pm #

    I’m appalled at the way the children were treated. At the same time I’m enjoying how much this is blowing up in the face of the CPS and Maryland police. They couldn’t have done a worse PR job even if they practiced for a week!

    I hope that when the law gets changed, it’s called the Meitvis act. The Meitvis and Lenore is a huge driving force for parents rights. It’s not just parental rights, it’s the rights of the children and the way the state is trying to prevent them from learning self reliance!

  25. JKP April 14, 2015 at 5:28 pm #

    Havva – I know it’s possible that they have a ton of extra police to respond quickly. But before I made my original post, I looked up the average 911 response time for that specific county, and it was between 7-8 minutes. I know that it’s an average and that could include 1 min response times balancing out 20 min response times. I’m just saying that it seems suspicious, especially after how horribly the police treated them the first time, threatening to shoot the father if came down the stairs with anything other than ID. The fact that the response time was so suspiciously short makes me wonder if the same cops who were so threatening the first time drove by, saw the kids (“Hey, aren’t those the same kids?), and not happy with the storm of media attention from last time that made them look like the overbearing cops the are, they then decided to bring the kids in so they could point to a “pattern” of neglect to justify their past and current actions.

  26. Cindy April 14, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

    Why is it that no one seems to be asking WHO made the phone call to the police, and WHY? The authorities clearly handled this VERY badly, but it would never have been in their hands without that phone call. Who has it in for the Meitiv’s? If every “unsupervised” child were reported then along about 3pm everyday across America the police would be doing nothing but picking up kids who are walking home from school, walking to a friends house, walking to the after school child care….. This is the most ludicrous waste of time and energy I have ever seen. We should be applauding the Meitiv’s for raising active, responsible kids. And because they are clearly good parents, I have faith that these kids will survive and grow up to be active, responsible adults.

  27. Donald April 14, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

    @ Sharon
    ….I wonder if the police and CPS weren’t trying to teach the Meitivs a “lesson”.

    This is the first thing I thought of as well. The second thing I thought of was the family that staged a kidnapping in order to teach the children

  28. Ann in L.A. April 14, 2015 at 5:38 pm #

    Through this, the Meitivs have been forced to be their children’s prison guards.

  29. bsolar April 14, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

    In my opinion CPS and the police in these situations should be required to follow the fundamental doctrine of healthcare workers: “primum non nocere”. As explained by Wikipedia:

    > “Given an existing problem, it may be better not to do something, or even to do nothing, than to risk causing more harm than good.” It reminds the health care provider that they must consider the possible harm that any intervention might do. It is invoked when debating the use of an intervention that carries an obvious risk of harm but a less certain chance of benefit.

    It seems pretty obvious that in this case the intervention has very little benefit and does a lot of harm. I doubt any consideration about the negative consequences of the intervention was made, which seems to be a big issue with the CPS system in general.

  30. Barbara April 14, 2015 at 6:15 pm #

    Someone may have already commented on this, but the first thought I had when I read the news report was if the homeless man “eyeing” the kids was considered a potential danger to the kids why didn’t the police simply speak to the man “eyeing” the kids and leave the kids alone? I agree it smells like the cops taking it upon themselves to teach the parents a lesson. No thought at all given to the trauma inflicted on the kids. Also, if the homeless man “eyeing” the kids was perceived as potentially dangerous to the children wouldn’t it have been really easy to allow the kids to complete their walk and then quietly alert the parents to a potential problem??? As a parent if I had made a decision to allow my child to do something that I deemed safe, but someone like a friend, neighbor or a police offer came to me with a real concern and made me aware of a potential problem I would give their opinion a great deal of weight if for no other reason than that their approach was so respectful… Unfortunately, respectfulness and good manners have been replaced by self-righteousness and arrogance and the self-righteous and arrogant are forever shocked when they and their opinions are not well received.

  31. Donald April 14, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

    I study ‘stupidity’ and where it comes from. I think a lot can be learned from ‘The Invisible Gorilla’ test.

    The Invisible Gorilla is a great demonstration of selective attention. The capacity of our attention isn’t limitless just like the gas tank in your car won’t hold 300 gallons. If you try to put 300 gallons in it, you’ll make a mess. This is so obvious that it’s astonishing and hard to comprehend how mistakes like this are made.

    The Invisible Gorilla is a game where people pass basketballs to each other. A spectator is given the task of counting how many times a ‘white shirt’ person passes the ball. This task is challenging and requires full attention. In fact, 50% of the spectators (that are busy counting) fail to see a person in a gorilla suit walk through the center of the game, pause, thump his chest, and walk off!

    What’s this got to do with the Meitivs?

    Bureaucracies grow. As they write a never ending list of regulations and procedures, they try to ‘fill a car with 300 gallons of gasoline’. It’s little wonder why the local CPS failed to see the gorilla or forget the constitution of the United States.

  32. Peter Orvetti April 14, 2015 at 7:26 pm #

    The Meitivs’ saga makes me terrifically angry and terribly sad. We have lived in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C. since before the birth of our twin sons, who are now 10, and we have always been free range. Since we are a homeschooling family, it is not uncommon for our kids to be out on their own at unusual times of the day — and, in the odd intimacy of urban life, the neighbors either don’t notice or are used to seeing “those kids”, even if they don’t know their names.

    We also spend a lot of time in Silver Spring, where one kid does theater and the other studies ballet. We are also in a homeschooling co-op with several Montgomery County families, so we know the parks and neighborhoods in question quite well.

    There is a myth that free-rangers are reckless in pursuit of ideology. But we did not just turn our kids loose as soon as they could crawl, nor do we have the same standard for all locations. Our sons know their neighborhood, and know where they can and cannot go on their own. They have known not to run into intersections since they were toddlers, since we taught them so. (I remember the looks of scandalized strangers as our three-year-olds tore down the sidewalk — then their relief as they came to hard stops at the corner.) We assess each new place, and then set standards — discussing them with our kids, who know that if there’s a reason why they cannot be alone, THERE’S AN ACTUAL REASON, since we trust them when there is not.

    So much of the fear now is based on the ubiquity of media. Everyone reading this site knows that all statistics show children are safer now than ever before. But when I was 10 three decades ago, we did not hear each and every story of each and every incident. Today, a scare story that might have merited 30 seconds on a local newscast in 1985 goes “viral”, spreads across social media, and becomes fodder for cable “news” networks trying to fill a bottomless news hole.

    And so we end up with a place like Maryland — where one acquaintance actually was told by CPS that while yes, a nine-year-old can be home alone, and yes, an 11-year-old can be home alone, an 11-year-old cannot be in charge of a nine-year-old, so she could leave each child home alone individually, but it’s illegal to leave them home alone together.

    I feel so hopeless and helpless. I’m not as brave as the Meitivs. I have never feared for my children’s safety when they’ve been out on their own, but I fear that phone call or knock on the door.

  33. Carol April 14, 2015 at 7:39 pm #

    It’s hard for me to understand how anybody anywhere can be ok with the actions of the police and CPS in this case, and equally hard to understand how anybody can naively believe there’s no vendetta against these parents. My three kids are all successful adults now, but during their childhoods, in the nineties and early 00s, I learned the hard way how invested the schools, courts, and child protection bureaucracy are in making recalcitrant parents toe the line. My takeaway: people to whom the state has granted power over the lives of others rarely spend much time reflecting on how to use that power as infrequently and unobtrusively as possible; rather, they seem to believe that they have a higher calling which brings with it such power as a right, one which they have a duty to use.

    It’s well past time to curtail that power, allowing its use to investigate and adjudicate the actual abuse and neglect of children, while expressly granting parents the widest possible latitude in their child rearing choices. As a general rule, chil

  34. Stacey Falls April 14, 2015 at 7:39 pm #

    this makes me so mad. when i was young, we walked all over the neighborhood. and that was the norm. i recently saw an article written in 1982 about how to decide if your kid was ready for kindergarten or not, and one of the criteria was, “he is able to walk 7 or 8 blocks on his own to visit friends”.

    and now we are raising a nation of wimps, a bunch of kids who have never learned to fend for themselves. and the government and the authorities who should have the kids’ best interest in mind are making the totally wrong decisions.

    what can be done about this? i would like to write someone in maryland a letter. who? the DA? some county board of supervisors? the governor? whose jurisdiction is this?

    .

  35. Carol April 14, 2015 at 7:46 pm #

    Oops….
    …children who present as bright, engaged, curious, confident and articulate probably do not warrant official investigation solely on the basis of an unrelated adult’s disagreement with the level of supervision their parents feel they require. It sounds like common sense, doesn’t it?

  36. Liz April 14, 2015 at 7:48 pm #

    Can these fine people not find a high-profile attorney to sue the police and take a cut of the damages for pain and suffering for these poor kids! It’s a good thing my son is 19, or I would be in jail now. I raised him to ride his bike to see his friends and did not put him on a bubble or hover over him with a helicopter. What a horrible parent I am!!!! I actually let him make mistakes and learn from them. I have two stepkids – 21 and 13. They were/are being raised by helicopter Dad and Mom. Older kid never graduated from high school and works temp jobs. Younger one is on his way to the same fate – no responsibilities or ability to make mistakes = not learning to be accountable and responsible. My son is in college and working part time. He is not perfect, or “special” more than any other kid, and he knows it. And he seeks out advice because of that. This country is going to hell in a handbasket!

  37. derfel cadarn April 14, 2015 at 8:49 pm #

    The police are NOT your friends, never have been, never will be.

  38. JAL April 14, 2015 at 9:36 pm #

    This just in….
    On Wednesday, Suffolk County, MA police took custody of a young boy who was running through the streets of North Boston, alone and unsupervised. The boy identified himself only as “Anthony.” When questioned, Anthony claimed that he was running home because Wednesday was Prince Spaghetti Day, and he certainly did not want to be late for dinner. Approximately one hour later, police arrested a middle-aged woman, presumed to be the child’s mother, who was heard yelling “Anthony” from the second story window of a North End apartment building, and booked the woman for child neglect.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8ti1hnLiLw

  39. marie April 14, 2015 at 9:44 pm #

    No thought at all given to the trauma inflicted on the kids.

    The cops took the kids with the assumption that the kids would be delighted to hang out with them, either in their squad car or at the station. The idea that anyone would choose differently probably didn’t occur to them. Our schools teach kids that cops are heroes. All cops. People who have had nothing to do with the criminal justice system simply have no idea how dangerous cops can be.

    I don’t know for sure when it started (9/11??) but it is considered terribly rude, if not outright un-patriotic, to question a cop’s motives. The assumption is that cops are always Dudley Do-rights. Anyone paying the tiniest bit of attention to what cops do–shoot dogs, shoot unarmed men in the back–knows that cops are just people who have been given a lot of power. Power corrupts. There is a place in our society for cops, of course. We need to pull back to where cops are there to protect and serve, not to be obeyed.

  40. Donna April 14, 2015 at 9:47 pm #

    JKP – There would be absolutely no reason to lie in that case. Responding to a call or actually seeing something themselves is completely irrelevant. It is a public place so the police would not need to fabricate an excuse for being there. If they thought the children were in danger enough to call CPS, they can do that on their own. If the police were saying that the caller provided information that made stopping the kids reasonable – eg they were playing frogger across the road – then I would be skeptical of the report of the call, but that is not what they are saying. They just indicate that the caller reported kids playing alone which is something the cop could have seen on his own.

    Further, there hasn’t been a single thing said about the same officers being involved in both incidents. If that were true, it surely would have come up in all the press. It wouldn’t surprise me if it was the same officer as officers have specific neighborhoods that they patrol, but the silence on that issue is telling. The first incident wasn’t that long ago so I would expect the children to recognize the cop from the first incident.

    While I can believe that the particular cop involved the first time could develop a vendetta against them – basically, a little dictator complex that he told them not to let the kids wander alone and they are not listening to him – it is ridiculous to believe that the entire police force cares enough about this situation to harass these people. Even my most paranoid clients only believe that specific cops are after them personally (and sometimes are right), not that the entire local police force has made getting them their life’s ambition. Really, nobody is that important.

    Honestly, it really is probably just a situation of a cop being very close by when the call came in. And I say this not particularly liking cops and believing that they are in general a bunch of liars. They do generally only lie when it has value and not randomly about pointless things that do nothing for the case.

  41. Warren April 14, 2015 at 9:55 pm #

    Donna,
    Was thinking along the lines of police procedure. I am wondering which is their procedure when they find kids out alone.

    Return them home, as in the first incident.

    OR

    Hold them until CPS takes custody.

    Which officer was violating procedure, is what I want to know.

  42. Mike April 14, 2015 at 11:55 pm #

    CPS is the most evil organization to exist. Its sole purpose is destroying families and harming children.

  43. International reader April 15, 2015 at 2:47 am #

    As 8 Mio inhabitants of a country that regularly tops all world rankings , Swiss schoolchildren walk to school from age 6 on their own. Sometimes they take public transport too. They cross streets at pedestrian crossings where cars stop for them.

    Luckily, most European countries allow parents to take sensible decisions wrt children education, and the kids are more free-range in those countries than in the US. They do not suffer injuries, deaths, kidnappings more in those countries than in the US. This is all proven by stats, it is not my role to analyze all this, it is the role of government to take governmental action on the basis of sound information and decision-making. What is described here does not fulffill those criterial for government/agency action.

    I am very happy that I have been able to raise free-range kids and that billions of families in the world are able to do it elsewhere than in the Land of the Free.

  44. tymmathi April 15, 2015 at 5:44 am #

    Could someone make the point with regards to what children can and can not do unsupervised.
    Parents are supposed to be raising ADULTS not human puppies.

    Puppies can’t learn to walk home alone; humans must learn to walk home.

  45. Krys April 15, 2015 at 7:45 am #

    This whole thing is utterly ridiculous. Why not speak to the supposed threat, the homeless man who was “eyeing” the children? Why not take the children home? Why not call the parents if indeed the kids were in danger?
    I support these parents 150%.
    There’s so much wrong here and I’m so irate and aggravated that I’ve had to correct this for typos at least 15 times in this short post!!!

  46. Emily Guy Birken April 15, 2015 at 8:14 am #

    Warren, that’s an excellent idea about having the children carry the business card of your attorney. Lenore, do you think there could be some sort of program between FRK and the National Association of Parents that would gather FR-friendly attorneys in each state who would be willing to offer their business cards for such instances? I feel like it could be something that we could print on the back of the Free Range Kid card.

  47. Diana Green April 15, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU!

    It’s taking on a new meaning.
    Is Big Brother OLD enough to watch you?

    And then there is the other BIG BROTHER, who carried his younger sibling to the safety of Boys’ Town:
    “He’s not heavy, Father. He’s my brother.”

    Whom do we trust? Our child or the State?

    The GOOD NEWS is that we are discussing these issues which are so important at this time. We are deciding which BIG BROTHER should be in charge. Talk it up! Involve your local AUTHORITIES. Make your voices heard.

  48. John April 15, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

    It certainly sounds as if the Meitivs have not broken any laws and that most likely will be their defense in this case. BUT with that being the situation, I sure as hell hope that some idiotic politician in power will not respond to this conundrum by drawing up and pushing for legislation that WOULD define it as a crime for parents to allow children under 12 to walk more than 1 mile outside unsupervised.

    When it involves children, these are the stupid things we do here in America. More laws…….sigh.

  49. Tamara April 15, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

    Oh, Peter Orvetti, you have eloquently articulated almost my exact feelings about this situation.

    It makes me want to raise my sword and charge in to aggressively defend this kind of oppressive attempt to control, but at the same time to make my own family be as off the radar as possible to avoid bringing the same unwanted and uncalled for attention down on us. The Meitivs are brave, no doubt. I guess there really is no choice and I would need to step up as well, or the fear wins. And that can not happen.

  50. Tamara April 15, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

    Marie – you are right, 9/11 is what started it all and yes, questioning an officer – or any “authority” but especially one who is supposedly vested with the authority to “protect” you, is just downright un American since. Or un-Canadian in my case.

  51. John April 15, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

    Maryland seems to be a real loopy state as of late when it comes to children. First they suspend a 3rd grader for biting his poptart into the shape of a gun and now this! Think there has been other incidences in Maryland involving their schools instituting some ridiculous suspensions of kids for committing trivial “violations”.

  52. Yocheved April 15, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

    I am just livid on behalf of the Meitivs right now.

    I can’t think of a single thing to say that isn’t snarky and unhelpful, or a sputtering, incoherent, emotional meltdown.

  53. There are better ways April 15, 2015 at 1:40 pm #

    We had a similar, though not identical incident, happen last year in our community.

    http://www.almanacnews.com/news/2014/09/16/menlo-park-officer-mother-disagree-about-allowing-child-to-walk-home-alone

    In this case a police officer saw a kid, thought the kid was in danger crossing the street, and drove the child home. There seemed to be more thought and care put into the situation by calling in a community car rather than a police car with a cage etc and reaching out to the parent.

    I am told by our own police department that they have to respond to every call. After responding they assess the situation. First, they will determine if the child is in danger or clearly neglected, i.e. hungry, unprotected from elements, etc.. If not in danger and not neglected, they will ask the child what they are doing i.e. confirm they are not run aways. If the child can provide a phone number, they will call the parent. If the parent confirms that the child is doing what the child is supposed to do, then the police will have done their job, checking out the call, and continue on with their duties, and the children continue on with what they are doing.

    Seems like a reasonable approach to me. Not sure why other police departments, particularly those in Maryland, have such draconian approaches and little concern for the harm their actions might cause.

    There is a middle ground far short of confining children for hours on end without contacting parents.

    Boy, I never considered moving to Maryland, but this type of police behavior would certainly keep me from ever doing so.

  54. Galen April 15, 2015 at 2:07 pm #

    This should story should be used by every 10-year-old in America lobbying for an iPhone… “look what might happen to us if we’re harassed by the police and I can’t call home for help!”

    It’s great that this is getting out there — the police lied to little children to lure them into their vehicle then held them against their will. If you or I did that, what kind of list would we end up on…?

  55. Donna April 15, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

    Warren,

    Officers are given some discretion on how to respond to most situations. You are rarely going to see two officers handle some incident the exact same way. Even the same officer may handle things differently in similar situations.

    My guess is that this being the second incident plays into the way it was handled this time. Usual protocol would call for the officer to radio in to dispatch to run a missing person report on the kids. He likely would have gotten information back indicating that this was not the first time these same kids had been picked up by police for being unsupervised.

  56. Tsu Dho Nimh April 15, 2015 at 8:40 pm #

    Wiley Rein is honored to represent the Meitivs on a pro bono basis

    Wiley Rein!!!! That’s heavy duty lawyering-up.

  57. sexhysteria April 16, 2015 at 3:05 am #

    The police lied to the children, but we are supposed to teach kids to trust the police?

  58. Laura April 16, 2015 at 12:26 pm #

    The call to the police has been released. There was a real call; it wasn’t a neighbour or anyone who claimed to be familiar with the kids. The caller seemed to be earnest in his concern, even if misguided.
    My guess (adding to the abundance of speculation) is that the “homeless subject” “eyeing” the kids was actually the caller. The person he was speaking to in dispatched specifically asked him to stay around to talk to the police.
    Also, the caller never once mentioned a parking garage – just a parking lot. It seems the kids cut through it because they got nervous about the guy following them.

  59. Montreal Dad April 16, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

    The Meitiv children were confined to the back of a police car for almost three hours without any explanation of why they were being detained.”

    Turns out it’s true! If your kids walk home alone, scary strangers might snatch them and lock them up in a box!

  60. Joanna April 16, 2015 at 5:37 pm #

    Before the world turned into one big Fear Factory, all that would’ve happened to those kids is that the Friendly Police Officer – remember when we had those EVERYWHERE? – would’ve contacted the parents to verify their address AND THEN let the kids continue walking, BUT following them far enough away to make sure they reached home safely but NOT close enough for them to feel like criminals under surveillance.

    Had the Meitivs’ Nosy Nervous Nellie Neighbors been around when I was a kid, EVERY parent on the block would’ve been in jail and EVERY kid that USED TO live on that block would’ve been in the “safer” environment of foster care, because the kids on my block not only walked several blocks to school and back home UNSUPERVISED every day, but on weekend and during summer, we’d be outside, again technically unsupervised, from dawn to dusk, only coming is to eat. I say “technically” because every home on the block was a “monitoring unit”. Every neighbor knew who we were and knew our parents, and would not hesitate to call them if we were doing anything really really wrong or looked to be in imminent danger (like jumping off the roof of a garage or climbing too high in a tree). Otherwise, we were left alone to roam at will, to go anywhere our curiosity took us, even many blocks away, and wonder of wonders, we all lived to to tell about our adventures!

    OF COURSE we’d all had the “don’t get into the car of a stranger” lecture, but unsuoervised play allowed us to become more aware of our surroundings than we ever would have if we’d been accompanied everywhere by an adult to make these assessments for us. Requiring an adult to be with a child EVERY MINUTE when outside the home is just INSANE, totally counter-productive to learning to become an independent teenager and then adult abale to make intelligent, informed decisions.

    I predict the rate of childhood hyperactivity would drop like a rock if kids were allowed to play OUTSIDE unsupervised for several hours a day like my childhood friends were. If that were to happen, BigPharma would lose tons of money on Ritalin and other kid-control drugs. What a pity…NOT.

  61. Warren April 16, 2015 at 6:48 pm #

    Joanna,

    Where I spent most of my years was just outside Toronto, Ont. The cops out there may not have known us by name, but they did know us to see us.

    They did freak out the parents one day. We had a big road hockey tournament in the mall parking lot, on a Sunday. Back when they were closed on Sundays. Some of us walking home with a net and our other stuff were stopped, and given a lift home. Just because it was a slow day, and the cop could. We were all around 10.

    That is community policing.

  62. Dawn Stanton April 17, 2015 at 3:11 pm #

    How do you go up against an agency that is above the law? Think about it. They go before a judge without representation for the parents, or true representation for the kids, to get the kids removed. They do not have to tell the truth. It’s your word against theirs when you finally get your day in court, guess whose side the judge is on. Around here, they take the kids from school, or daycare on Friday if they can, so you don’t miss them until to late to get a lawyer. You are expected to be in court at 8:00 AM on Monday. Even if you are found to be fit parents, they can insist that the case remain open until they decide to close it, which means you bow to their every whim so you can get them off your back. Once you have had them in your life, you are marked. If they involve themselves in your lives again, they have a heavier hand. That means that any time the kids go to the doctor, go out of your house (even in your own yard), to school… you have to worry about those that consider themselves to be reporters, until your youngest turns 18.

  63. PoolGirl5757 April 18, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

    At what point does “protect and serve” get twisted into “over-react and harass” ? A very thin line, it seems, these days.

    The police should have brought the kids directly home once they found no obvious immediate threat. If, after talking with the parents, the officer found probable cause that the home environment was unsafe THEN refer to CPS. I do believe that this family is being targeted for their private child rearing decisions. The kids have probably walked to this park by themselves 50 or 100 times with no incident. All it takes is one “good intention” by a nervous Nelly Nincompoop busybody calling DCYF/ CPS to ruin your record.

    I feel that I and my teenage daughter are being harassed and in the watchful eye of DCYF, school nurses, and other such busybodies in the neighborhood due to her issues and problems with getting her ADHD under control. It has been a battle I have been fighting since she was a toddler. So she doesn’t always brush her hair before leaving for school in the morning. So she ran out of deodorant and didn’t tell me. So we live in a rural environment that is more likely to have sand fleas, mice, and other pests. This will have been the 5th time, I think, that someone has reported me to DCYF. How can I be responsible for the actions of others or for environmental factors?

    Yes, I may have some sort of influence at home, but do I really need to hold her down and make sure she is wearing deodorant every morning? There seems to be a problem with the judgment system for those in authority. OK, so we have a kid here that smells a little funky some days. What teenager doesn’t at some point? Maybe we could talk to her confidentially about it at school, and give mum a call to give her a heads up? NO, LET’S CALL DCYF BECAUSE THIS HIGH HONOR STUDENT IS CLEARLY BEING NEGLECTED.

    Yeah, I neglect her so much that she goes to every doctor and counselor appointment, she is taking her medication every day, and she is getting glasses after complaining a few weeks ago that she can’t see the board so well. I am neglecting her when I made an appointment to get her hearing checked. I am neglecting her every time I go to her band concerts, teacher conferences, or art shows.

    I had to fight with the primary school to have a referral to get her tested for ADHD in the first place. It took them 5 years before she was approved for evaluation. Then another 2 years before she finally got on meds. Then DCYF acts like it’s my fault. It’s like they want you to wrangle a cow, but don’t give you any rope. So, I ask, WHO is doing the neglecting???

  64. PoolGirl5757 April 18, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

    P.S. I also let her go to the park or town pool alone or with her friends – 2 miles away. How horrible!