Pembroke Pines police respond to Local 10 story of juvenile arrested for bomb threat
Pembroke Pines Police issued a release on Thursday responding to a story that aired on Local 10 News about a 7th-grader who spent 14 days in juvenile detention for a crime she says she didn’t commit.
“Only a partial representation of this case was reported by some of our news media partners,” Captain Adam Feiner of Pembroke Pines Police stated in the release.
Local 10 News interviewed 13-year-old Nia Whims and her mother, Lezlie Davis, on Wednesday. The story was about a Nov. 19, 2021, incident when the 7th-grader was arrested and placed in handcuffs outside of her home after she was accused of posting a bomb threat against her school on Instagram.
Capt. Adam Feiner, a spokesman for the Pembroke Pines Police Department, said officers arrested a girl who created an e-mail account to frame another student on a school threat.
In a release on Thursday, Pembroke Pines police said that the family did not cooperate with them.
“At the time of our initial investigation in November 2021, the family of the victim chose to exercise their rights and did not cooperate with investigators,” the release said. “Due to the exigent nature of the school threats and in accordance with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act, it was determined that probable cause existed to arrest Victim #1 due to available evidence as well as multiple witness statements.” Feiner stated that the decision to arrest the student was “made in consultation with the Broward State Attorney’s Office.”
At a press conference on Thursday, Feiner announced the arrest of a 12 -year-old girl who they believe did commit the crime.
“At this time we have presented charges to the state attorney and the current suspect is facing the felony charge of written threats to kill or do bodily harm.”
Police said the student, who also attended Renaissance Charter School, impersonated Whims by using her information to create an email address and open multiple Instagram accounts. She then sent herself and other students multiple threatening messages, and intentionally lied to law enforcement and school staff to frame Whims.
Whims told Local 10 News that she kept telling authorities that she wasn’t responsible for the threat at Renaissance Charter School, but they wouldn’t listen.
In an interview, Davis said that she had insisted there be a thorough investigation.
But Pembroke Pines police tell a different story — that it was on Dec. 21, 2021, more than a month after the arrest that “the mother of Victim #1 began cooperating with our officers’ continued investigation and provided specific information which caused investigators to apply for a subpoena for the I.P. addresses associated with the threatening messages.”
Davis told Local 10 News that she allowed the police to ask as many questions as they wanted “until it got exhausting.” She told Local 10 News that an interview on camera that police have shows that she cooperated with them.
“I co-operated with (police). Took them into my house. I even said if it was her . . . that my daughter should be punished,” Davis said.
On Jan. 18, 2022, Pembroke Pines police said they did obtain new evidence from the subpoena and that the Broward State Attorney’s office was immediately notified. “A further investigation led to the exoneration of Victim #1″ and implicated one of the alleged victims, who had now become Suspect #1.
We asked Feiner at the press conference about Davis’s constitutional right to invoke the right to an attorney.
“Captain, you keep saying that mom was not being cooperative. It is a constitutional right to invoke your right to an attorney. That’s what mom was saying. How would you respond to that?,” we asked.
“It is someone’s constitutional right to not cooperate with law enforcement. Based upon one’s ability to either remain silent or not to cooperate with law enforcement . . . .we didn’t have the opportunity to examine digital devices,” Feiner said. “This was not considered a mistake.”
Davis said she initially was cooperative in speaking to police, but then she spoke to an attorney and remained silent. Now, police maintain that if she would have cooperated, the situation would have been resolved sooner.
Davis has now retained an attorney, who sent a statement:
“At all times our clients were cooperative with police. We must do everything we can to ensure thorough investigations before we place our children in handcuffs.”