Miami Beach police took 18-year-old Shyquawn McNickles and his brother, 20-year-old Carl McNickles into custody last month within hours after they arrived in Miami Beach for Shyquawn’s birthday. Officers said the brothers were being arrested in connection with two armed robberies that had occurred just hours before.
“The police pull up, guns out; told us if we move, they were going to shoot us,” Shyquawn told CBS 2 about they way officers approached.
The brothers from Lansing, Illinois, had just parted ways with their father, also named Carl McNickles, in order to celebrate Shyquawn’s birthday with friends.
According to a police report, at around 3 a.m., a sergeant reported via radio that he saw four or five men matching the description of the suspects in front of the Kent Hotel. When police approached, Shyquawn initially fled on foot but then returned when officers gave him a verbal command to do so.
Carl’s girlfriend then called his father and told him his sons had been arrested. The family pleaded with police, saying the brothers, neither of whom had a criminal record, weren’t the suspects police were looking for. Shyquawn is in high school and Carl is a student at William Penn University. He played football and wrestled at the college on an athletic scholarship, but because of the arrest record he lost the financial help, the family says. Without the scholarship, his family can’t accord to send him back to school.
The younger Carl said he’s spent his life trying to avoid such a situation.
“My whole life, I’ve been trying to just stay out of trouble — like nothing at all involving police — and then this happens,” he said.
The brothers were then held in jail for 33 days, which is the maximum amount of time someone can be kept in jail in Florida without charges being filed against them.
Tony Moss, the family’s attorney, said the brothers’ clothing doesn’t match the description of the suspects, which says the robbers, who had stolen a woman’s purse at gunpoint, were “five Black males, wearing all black clothing, with black ski masks covering their faces.” Clothes the brothers were wearing included rainbow Crocs and a red T-shirt.
“You would think that Stevie Wonder would have noticed that detail,” Moss said told CBS 2. He also said that no evidence against the brothers has been found. The brothers’ father believes they were arrested for being Black.
Miami-Dade prosecutors informed a judge last week that they wouldn’t be filing charges against the brothers, although the arrests remain on their records. They’ll have to fight to get them wiped clean.
“I hope they find a good attorney and sue the hell out of the Miami Beach Police Department,” Moss said.