New York (CNN) -- The family of a 7-year-old Bronx boy is suing the city of New York and its police force for $250 million, claiming the child was falsely arrested and handcuffed over a $5 theft.
After being accused of stealing the money from a fellow student in November, the parents say, the boy was taken out of his third-grade class in the Bronx and detained by authorities.
The family filed the suit last week, but the incident came into the spotlight early Wednesday in New York when the boy's mother released a photo of the boy being handcuffed.
The court filing says the child was handcuffed by police, held for 10 hours and charged with two counts of robbery that were later dropped.
But the New York Police Department disputes those allegations, saying the claims are exaggerated.
"We're barred from discussing details involving a minor, but that doesn't stop a plaintiff's lawyer from exploiting a child and grossly distorting and fabricating 'facts,'" said Deputy Police Commissioner Paul J. Browne.
Police said they have referred the case to Internal Affairs for further review.
The New York City Department of Education declined to comment because the incident did not occur on school grounds.