A Virginia teenager is preparing to stand trial on larceny charges next month over a 65 cent carton of milk.

Fourteen-year-old Ryan Turk was accused of theft last May, after a police officer saw him taking a milk carton during his former school’s lunch period. The teen was also accused of disorderly conduct and handcuffed when he refused to go to the principal’s office after the incident.

Ryan’s mother Shamise Turk said her son did not steal the milk, because he was enrolled in the free lunch program. She declined to enroll her son into a diversion program as an alternative to going to court for the alleged offense.

Turk told Roland Martin the diversion program would have required her son to admit that he committed a crime, attend classes, and then the charges would be dismissed. After declining the diversion program, the case was sent back to juvenile detention, which had the option of whether or not to prosecute the case.

Turk told Martin on NewsOne Now, the trial over the alleged theft of a 65 cent carton of milk is a “waste of taxpayers’ money” and is unsure who is so focused on prosecuting this case.

Turk said as a result of this incident, her son is depressed, refuses to eat lunch at school, and “won’t set foot in the cafeteria” at his new school.

After discussing the case with Ryan’s mother, Martin asked his panel of guests, “Why in the world would you have a police officer engage with a student over a 65 cent carton of milk?”

Ralph Chittams, Jr., Senior Vice Chairman for the D.C. Republican Party, attempted to explain why the teen was being prosecuted, causing Martin and the rest of the NewsOne Now panel to refute the tone-deaf assessment.

A clearly annoyed Martin fired back at Chittams, “How much money has literally been spent on court time, on attorneys, on investigators, on police for a damn 65 cent carton of milk …it’s a lousy carton of milk. They likely destroy more milk every single day.”

The host of NewsOne Now explained school officials could have had the teen write a thousand sentences or clean up around the school as an alternative method of punishment.

Before concluding the segment, Martin said, “This is an abomination … Police officers in schools are not there to escort young men to the principal’s office for a 65 cent carton of milk.”


Watch NewsOne Now with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.


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