The boy allegedly ran away from school, and that's when the cops were called.
Trigger Warning: This story contains details of police brutality that readers may find disturbing.
A five-year-old boy was manhandled by the cops for running away from school. He was handcuffed by officials and was repeatedly told he should be spanked for his actions. According to ABC News, Montgomery County Police officers responded to a call from East Silver Spring Elementary School about a child who ran away from the school on January 14, 2020.
In the bodycam video that has since been released by the police department, the officers found the child leaning against a car. One officer approached the kid, kneeled before him, and spoke to him.
"You feel like you can make your own decisions? Are you an adult? Are you 18? So why are you out of school?" the male officer can be heard saying to the boy in the video. "I don't care if you don't want to go to school. You do not have that choice, do you understand?"
Police body camera footage showed officers detaining a 5-year-old boy who left his school grounds in Maryland, putting handcuffs on him and repeatedly saying he should be beaten & spanked.— bennydiego✯ 😷MaskUp (@bennydiego) March 28, 2021
When you’re Black you’re not even allowed to be a child.
He’s 5. https://t.co/D45HMAwKKy
The cop then grabs the kid's arm, and he starts crying immediately. Then, a female employee of the school said she would accompany the boy back to the school. The male officer put the child in the back of the vehicle, and when he started to sob, the cop got angry and said, "You better stop. I don't want to hear it."
"I don't want to go!" the boy shouts. A female officer, also on camera, says: "Does your mother spank you? … She's going to spank you today. I'm going to ask her if I can do it." Soon, they get back to school and a cop picks up the wailing child, forces him into a chair. "Shut that noise!" the female officer can be heard yelling.
The male officer then calls him a "violent little thing." The officers can be heard discussing about how the boy has to be disciplined, adding that he needs "whoopings" and "spanking." In the video, the female officer said he needs to be put in a crate.
Towards the end of the video, the cops handcuff the child while his mom is present. "When you get older, when you want to make your own decisions, you know what's going to be your best friend? These right here," the male cop says while holding handcuffs.
Calling out the police for bad behavior isn't going to work unless each offending officer AND his superiors are called out as well. Name them! Don't just blame them!— dilligaf (@mjMJohnsonewby) March 28, 2021
"These are for people who don't want to listen and don't know how to act," the male officer says, putting a handcuff on one of the child's wrists and placing his hands behind his back. "Is that how you want to live your life?"
However, later in January, the boy's family filed a case against the police officers involved in the incident, the county, and the Montgomery County Board of Education. The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, claiming that the child suffered "severe and extreme emotional distress" because of the incident.
In the court statement, the officers' conduct is described as "malicious, grossly negligent, reckless and in deliberate disregard of the emotional stress it would inflict on the child."
"Our client, Shanta Grant, brought this lawsuit on behalf of her then five-year old son in an effort to get justice and fair compensation for the trauma he endured. She also hopes that the incident will lead to changes in policy and training, both with the school and the police," Matthew Bennett and James Papirmeister, the lawyers who filed the lawsuit, said.
The Montgomery County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35 also released a statement: "It is clear, that the event and everything that has come after the event should have been handled better by all involved. It's important to note that unless an officer is assigned to a specialized unit, Montgomery County police officers do not receive training on how to effectively communicate with a young child in distress."
Montgomery County Public Schools Board President Brenda Wolff and Superintendent Jack Smith released a statement that said: "Our heart aches for this student ... There is no excuse for adults to ever speak to or threaten a child in this way."
Council member Will Jawando called for the officers involved to be fired and investigated. "You just see his body language is trembling because his face is blurred out obviously in the video, but the yelling in his face while administrators stood by ... putting a handcuff on him, telling him he's gonna be in jail, just everything was wrong," Jawando said.
Cover Image: Facebook/Montgomery County Police Department