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The child’s family filed a lawsuit against two Montgomery County Department of Police officers, the county itself, and the Montgomery County Board of Education.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — Montgomery County Police have released body-camera footage, from January 2020, of an incident between officers and a 5-year-old boy who allegedly wandered away from his school and did not want to return.
Throughout the 51-minute video, officers can be seen screaming in the child’s face, advocating for people “beating their children”, and briefly handcuffing the boy.
According to a Montgomery County Police Department press release, two officers were called to East Silver Spring Elementary School by an employee of the school for help in retrieving the child who had run away. The video shows the officers driving through a residential neighborhood and finding the child leaning against a car.
“Come here buddy,” the male officer says, to start the conversation. “What’s going on man? What are you doing?”
When the child does not respond, the officer appears to kneel down to his level and begins to ask the child why he thinks he can “make his own decisions” when he is not an adult.
“I don’t care if you don’t want to go to school, you don’t have that choice,” the officer continues. “Do you understand?”
WARNING: This video may be tough to watch for some viewers.
At that point, the officer takes the boy’s arm and starts leading him to a police cruiser, and the boy starts to cry. A female school employee is also seen in the video holding the boy’s hand, telling him she’s riding with him back to school. The crying child is buckled into the backseat of the police car.
“Does your mama spank you?” the female officer asks the boy. “She’s going to spank you today. I’m going to ask her if I can do it.”
The officers drive the boy back to school with the school employee in the car as well.
“This is why people need to beat their kids,” the female officer is heard saying as they wait to take the child into the school.
Inside the school, the boy is placed in a chair in an administrator’s office, and the female officer at one point stands over him and screams in his face as he continues to cry.
The boy is told he’s “mad rude” and called “a violent little thing.” There are multiple conversations between the officers and administrators about how the child should be disciplined at home. Eventually, the male officer calls his mom and can be seen holding him in the chair with one hand, as he asks her to come to the school.
Later, when the boy’s mother has arrived, the male officer tells the boy that later in life, when he wants to make his own decisions, handcuffs will be his best friend, and he puts the handcuff on the child.
“These are for people who don’t want to listen and don’t know how to act,” the male officer said, putting the child’s hands behind his back and demonstrating how a cop would handcuff him. “Is that how you want to live your life?”