An 11-year old girl faces felony assault charges after seeking emergency help for a boy whom she says she accidentally injured after he bullied her with water balloons.
Maribel Cuevas was arrested, handcuffed and taken by police to juvenile hall, where she spent five days with only minimal contact with her parents.

Her family says Maribel meant no harm when she accidentally hit Elijah Vang, the 9-year-old neighborhood boy, in the forehead with a rock. They say she was simply defending herself after Vang and several other boys pummeled her with water balloons outside her home in a poor Fresno neighborhood in April. Vang's family isn't pressing charges and has since moved away.

"We responded. We determined a felony assault had taken place and the officers took the actions that were necessary," said Fresno Police Sgt. Anthony Martinez.

No matter the boy admitted to officers he started the fight and was quickly released from the hospital after getting his head stitched up. No matter the girl herself ran for help.

"She's 11 ... they're treating her like she's a violent parole offender," said Richard Beshwate, Jr., Maribel's lawyer.

Maribel, who speaks limited English, spent five days in juvenile hall with just one half-hour visit from her parents. She then spent about 30 days under house arrest, forced to wear a GPS ankle bracelet to monitor her whereabouts. She's charged with assault with a deadly weapon and is due in court Aug. 3.

Guadalupe Cuevas couldn't communicate with the officers, because she doesn't speak English, and was pushed away when she tried to reach her daughter.

"The officer was just saying, 'I don't care, I don't care,'" Guadalupe Cuevas said in Spanish. "He told my nephew he didn't speak his kind of English."

None of the responding officers spoke Spanish, and none who did were called to communicate with the family before the girl was taken to juvenile hall. The police report said Green read Maribel her Miranda rights twice, in English.