Footage shows Florida police arrest an 8-year-old boy with special needs
On Sunday night, civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump uploaded footage from a 2018 incident on Twitter.
The police had been called to the boy’s school, Gerald Adams Elementary, after the child had allegedly threatened and punched his teacher in the chest. The body camera footage depicts a police officer patting down and putting handcuffs on the 8-year-old child in Key West, Florida. In addition to this, the video shows the little boy being lectured and escorted out of the school by the police. What is more, Daily Mail has reported that the child was later booked into a juvenile justice facility.
Unbelievable!! @KWPOLICE used “scared straight” tactics on 8yo boy with special needs. He's 3.5 ft tall and 64 lbs, but they thought it was appropriate to handcuff and transport him to an adult prison for processing!! He was so small the cuffs fell off his wrists! pic.twitter.com/iSTlXdKas6
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) August 10, 2020
According to NBC News, the attorney explained that the boy was a special needs student who had an individualized education plan as a result of his disabilities. Crump has further commented on the incident and the boy’s arrest, stating:
Instead of honoring and fulfilling that plan, the school placed him with a substitute teacher who had no awareness or concern about his needs and who escalated the situation by using her hands to forcibly move him. […] When he acted out, the teacher called the police, who threatened him with jail and tried to put him in handcuffs, which fell off because he was too little.
The footage reveals how flawed both the education and policing systems are.
The Key West Police Chief Sean T. Brandenburg reportedly explained that the officers had not done anything wrong as he said, “Based on the report, standard operating procedures were followed.”
Nevertheless, the video of the boy’s arrest has caused outrage almost immediately after attorney Benjamin Crump uploaded it online. Former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro commented on the 2018 incident as he tweeted:
Police in Key West tried to put an 8-year-old boy in handcuffs and transport him to jail to “scare him straight.”
Police should have no role in punishing our kids or pulling traumatic stunts like this in our schools. pic.twitter.com/2gFzHlvwLL
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) August 10, 2020
In addition to the US politician, another Twitter user criticized the Key West Police and the child’s school as they wrote:
Sickening! So many people at fault here. SMH. What happened to guidance counselors, social workers, and behavior therapists??? Why police??? An eight year old baby with special needs??? Abusive language “sorry, but you made me have to do this to you”. Yeah, blame the kid, huh?😡
— Traci D. Wyatt, Ph.D.📚 (@divinely_traci) August 10, 2020