Theft charge dropped over chicken nugget meal
Shorewood High student was arrested, ticketed over alleged stealing of $2.60 meal
Shorewood - The Police Department has withdrawn a theft ticket issued to a Shorewood High School student who was handcuffed, photographed and fingerprinted after being accused of stealing a chicken nugget meal from the school cafeteria, Police Chief David Banaszynski said Monday.
Police and the school principal agreed the matter should be dropped, he said.
The ticket, given in March to Adam Hernandez, was to be the subject of a Municipal Court trial Tuesday.
"It shouldn't have gone this far. There are other means and methods to handle this kind of situation," Banaszynski said.
The arrest of the 15-year-old freshman was reported Sunday by Journal Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane.
Kane reported that Hernandez denied stealing the $2.60 meal, but rather received it from a friend who participated in a free lunch program at the school.
A rally in support of Hernandez had been planned at Village Hall just prior to Tuesday's scheduled trial.
Banaszynski confirmed that after Hernandez was arrested and handcuffed at the school he was taken to the police station to be photographed and fingerprinted before being released.
He said the same procedure would have been used had police been told, for example, that someone had eaten food from the deli of a grocery store without paying for it.
The fine and costs assessed for a municipal theft ticket total about $170, Banaszynski said.
Banaszynski noted that the police officer who works at the high school full time, as well as an assistant principal, were at the scene when officers arrived to make the arrest.
Asked if he thought a theft had occurred, Banaszynski said he didn't want to speculate.
"There's more than one side of the story," he said.
Hernandez's lawyer, James Hall, said he was pleased there would be no trial.
"To have handcuffed him and taken him to the police station in the first place, about a matter involving some chicken nuggets, was a bit over the top, in my view," he said.
"Hopefully, this can be a teaching opportunity in terms of showing how matters like this can be handled in a manner that wouldn't result in a minor having a record."
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