Teen Detained for Nearly 40 Days in Snowball Incident

Dominique Rondeau, 18, was held for tossing an icy one
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 2, 2015 3:45 PM CDT
Teen Detained for Nearly 40 Days in Snowball Incident
Dominique Rondeau.   (Kimberly P. Mitchell)

A teenager who spent nearly 40 days in custody before a judge cleared him of throwing a dangerous snowball is suing the Detroit school district, saying his rights were violated by a malicious prosecution. Dominique Rondeau, now 18, was accused of throwing an icy snowball that shattered the windshield of a school police car in December 2013. He denied it. Unable to come up with $2,000 bond, he spent weeks in juvenile detention until his bond was reduced. A judge dismissed the case after officers looked at a video in court and couldn't identify Rondeau as the person who threw the snowball, the Detroit Free Press reports.

"The only evidence they had was the camera, and the camera couldn't see anything," says Rondeau, who was 16 at the time. Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for prosecutors, said her office relied on the officers' assertions that they could identify Rondeau, who is considered emotionally impaired and has had other run-ins with authorities. Rondeau has a lawsuit pending in federal court. He says his rights were violated by the school district and the officers. The district denies any wrongdoing. "How does it even get this far? Didn't anybody look at the video?" says Rondeau's attorney, Wolfgang Mueller. (Read more snowball fight stories.)

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