Woman ticketed, threatened with arrest for buying children hoop

Mikael Thalen
May 9, 2014

A Cleveland woman is speaking out after police officers confiscated a basketball hoop she purchased for children in her neighborhood.

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Cheri Fiorilli, who purchased the hoop for several neighbor boys that regularly help her with yard work, attempted to stop police this week as they dragged the hoop away behind their vehicle.

According to Cleveland police, the young boys have been repeatedly warned that they are breaking the law by playing basketball in the street. Cell phone video captured by Fiorilli revealed one officer’s refusal to give any leeway regarding the hoop.

“There’s no warning,” the officer said. “There’s nothing I can do. There’s no leeway.”

Not only did officers confiscate the hoop, but Fiorilli was threatened with arrest before finally receiving a ticket.

“I need to see your driver’s license again,” one officer asks. “If not, I have to arrest you for refusing to comply.”

Visibly upset, Fiorilli blasted the officer’s actions as well as the ticket and $182 in court fees she now faces.

“I’m not living like that,” Fiorilli told reporters. “I pay my taxes… I am ashamed. I am ashamed of what that man did, the example he set for these kids.”

Despite a post on the department’s Facebook page that admitted the officer “clearly handled it wrong,” the hoop still remains in police custody. The department showed no intention of backing off from the ticket as well.

While police argue that the law is about protecting children, many feel that everyday children’s activities are being targeted at an increasing pace as similar cases appear across the country.

In 2011, Delaware police and DOT officials used a dump truck to tear a family’s basketball hoop out of their front yard. Despite assurances by police that the hoop would be left in the family’s custody once removed, officers instead handed the hoop over to DOT employees.

Last year in Philadelphia, cell phone video captured one officer knocking over and breaking a basketball hoop as two young men attempted to play.

Unfortunately, simply playing outside is now considered dangerous and abusive by some. A Texas mother was arrested for allowing her children to ride scooters outside her home in 2012 after a neighbor reported the mundane activity to police. The mother was charged with child endangerment and spent a night in jail before charges were eventually dropped.

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