Baby dolls, the Disney Channel and jump-rope, double-dutch style - Nathalia Rosario's world of hobbies was a universe away from her reality yesterday inside Philadelphia Family Court.
Nathalia, who became a teenager in October, stood in her school uniform in front of Judge Amanda Cooperman facing felony drug charges. After 30 minutes of testimony and procedure, Cooperman found Nathalia not guilty of the crimes.
Afterward, in the waiting area, appearing almost wild with joy, she fiercely hugged her mother, sister and other relatives and a neighbor.
Later, after taking a test at her school, Mariana Bracetti Academy Charter, Nathalia said succinctly of the judge's verdict:
"I was happy."
Even before yesterday's ruling, Nathalia's family, members of the North Philadelphia Latino community and even some police officers had questioned the procedures behind her Nov. 3 arrest and the charges involved.
In interviews with the Daily News, Nathalia and several relatives had said that she never should have been charged.
Meanwhile, the police Internal Affairs Bureau has launched an investigation into Nathalia's arrest, on Hope Street near Lehigh Avenue, by the Narcotics Strike Force, spokesman Lt. Raymond Evers said yesterday.
"When it's done, we'll make a statement," Evers said of the investigation, which a source said began Nov. 29.
Nathalia and her family say that police never read her her Miranda rights or asked her mother for permission to question her, and that she was taken from her Fairhill home to a nearby parking lot, where she was interrogated for nearly two hours, instead of to division headquarters, where juvenile suspects are supposed to be taken when arrested.
Nathalia was one of eight people arrested Nov. 3 in a drug sweep in the neighborhood, according to a police report obtained by the Daily News.
She was charged with criminal conspiracy, drug possession and possession with intent to deliver, Evers said.
Nathalia and her family maintain that she was inside her house, asleep on a couch with the "Wizards of Waverly Place" on the Disney Channel. Her mother, Michelle Perez, said that she woke her up about 5:25 p.m. to leave for dinner at Michelle's mother's house nearby. Her mother's phone records show that a one-minute call was made to Perez's cell phone at 5:24 p.m.
Her family maintains that the only reason that she was arrested was that she was wearing a pink jacket.
The police investigation report says that about 5:20 p.m., a youth "met with a Hispanic male wearing a pink jacket (later identified as Nathalia Rosario) . . . [and] handed Rosario the bundled newspaper. Rosario then walked northbound approximately three houses and entered a house."
Nathalia Rosario was arrested on the block about 5:50 p.m., according to the police report.
When Nathalia and her sister Alondra Agosto, 14, arrived home that day, they changed out of their school uniforms into everyday clothing, they said.
Nathalia said that she chose a pink hoodie and turned on the TV in the first-floor living room, eventually falling asleep on the couch.
After Perez woke her up and the family got ready to head to Perez's mother's house a mile away for dinner, at least three police cars suddenly appeared on narrow Hope Street, relatives said.
As Nathalia walked toward a friend to ask what was going on, a female police officer asked her, "Did you just enter that house?" pointing to the small rowhouse that she had just exited.
"No," Nathalia answered, "I just came out of it."
A couple of minutes later, while she talked with the neighborhood friend, Nathalia said, she heard: " 'Grab her, grab her, grab her! The one in the pink!' And they grabbed me."
According to a police document read at a court hearing Nov. 4, "a male in a pink jacket" received a package of drugs, according to Perez and a Police Department source with knowledge of the document. That "male" was later identified as Nathalia, according to the source.
When Perez was confronted with the accusations by police, she begged arresting officers to search her home for the narcotics. They declined, she said, citing the time that it would take to obtain a search warrant.
"I feel much better," Perez said in an interview after yesterday's verdict. "I want to talk to and let him know the way they do things can ruin lives."