The cops hit up someone in narcotics to get the 411 on the drug dealers in the neighborhood. The cops threaten a drug dealer, Patek, in order to get the information that all three boys came by yesterday, and two went home crying when the "ballers" at the playground stole their basketball. The cops grab the Steel boys off the street and get them to confess that they had been at the playground with David (the dead boy), and that their ball was stolen by some neighborhood toughs in Baltimore Bullets jerseys, who said they would "pop a cap" in their white patooties if they ever came back. The cops canvass the neighborhood trying to find the guys. The neighbors are unwilling to help. They won't snitch, not without the approval of the resident B-grade Jesse Jackson (or the poor man's Al Sharpton?). When the Lieutenant asks the Rev for help, she is told that the only way the neighbors will come forward is if the local church is designated an historical landmark so it can't be turned into condos for the incoming rich white folk.
Needless to say, Jack McCoy, the newly-minted DA, is not happy: Extortion! Murdered Children! Civic Duty! Arm-Twisting! Lines! Handouts! Oh, fine. The next day the ersatz Jesse/Al hybrid holds a press conference demanding that if anyone saw something, they should come forward and drive the murderers out of the neighborhood. One of the guys who spoke to Green shows up at the precinct, and IDs the guy in the Baltimore Bullets jersey as a kid named Will who Lupo spoke with. They found the casings right outside their brownstone. The cops get a warrant and head uptown.
They find the basketball in Will's house and arrest him for robbery. That is, until they find the gun that matches the murder weapon. Then they arrest him for murder. They haul him to the station and throw him into an interrogation room. Since Will is seventeen, he is not entitled to have a parent in the room, so the boy's father, Ray, talks with the Lieutenant. Green and Lupo try to get a confession out of Will, but they are unsuccessful. Luckily the Lieutenant manages to get one out of the father. Apparently the three white boys came back to the playground with baseball bats, they had cornered Will, and were planning on whacking him (literally), so Ray shot them. Imminent harm! Clear and present danger! Defense of others!