'Horrific' moment police handcuff boy, 8, with special needs and tell him 'you're going to jail'

April Roach
·4-min read

Footage has emerged of a "horrific" incident which saw Florida police handcuff an eight-year-old boy with special needs after he allegedly punched a teacher.

The footage is from an incident that happened on December 14, 2018 at Gerald Adams Elementary in Key West, Florida, but has recently gained attention after it was shared by attorney Ben Crump on social media on Monday.

Mr Crump represents the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

The footage shows the moment police place him in handcuffs.

Bodycam footage shows the moment police placed the eight-year-old boy in handcuffs (Florida police)
Bodycam footage shows the moment police placed the eight-year-old boy in handcuffs (Florida police)

"So you know where you're going?" one of the officers asks the boy before a second officer says, "you're going to jail".

They tell him to stand up and put his hands against a wall as they pat down his clothing in what looks like an attempt to check for hidden weapons.

Officers frisked the child (Florida police)
Officers frisked the child (Florida police)

The officers then place the child in handcuffs but they are too large and don't fit.

A teacher is seen comforting the boy before the police officer confronts the boy about his behaviour.

"You understand this is very serious okay and I hate that you put me in this position and I have to do this," says the officer.

"The thing about it is that you made a mistake and you have to learn from it and grow from it and not repeat the same mistake again."

The footage ends with the officers escorting the child towards a squad car. He was later booked into a juvenile justice facility in Key West.

According to the arrest report, the child's teacher said the eight-year-old was not sitting properly in his cafeteria seat and when she asked him multiple times to sit properly he refused.

She claims he told her "my mom is going to beat your a***" before punching her with his right hand.

In a statement shared on Twitter, Mr Crump said he is filing a federal lawsuit with civil rights attorney Devon Jacob against the Key West Police officers, the city of Key West and the Monroe County School District.

He is accusing police of using "scared straight" tactics to intimidate the eight-year-old boy.

Such tactics refer to a strategy used to deter juvenile offenders from a life of crime by exposing them to what life is like in adult prisons. The eight-year-old boy in the footage was not sent to an adult prison.

"At eight-years-old, 3.5ft tall, and 64 lbs, this little boy didn't pose a threat to anyone. He had an IEP in place because his disabilities demanded special support by his school - a plan intended to make sure his educational experience was appropriate for him.

"Instead of honouring and fulfilling that plan, the school placed him with a substitute teacher who has no awareness or concern about his needs and who escalated the situation by using her hands to forcibly move him.

"This is a heartbreaking example of how our educational and policing systems train children to be criminals by treating them like criminals. If convicted, the child in this case would have been a convicted felon at eight-years-old."

He added: "This little boy was failed by everyone who played a part in this horrific incident."

Key West Police Chief Sean T Brandenburg said in a statement Monday that no inappropriate action had been taken.

"Based on the report, standard operating procedures were followed," he said.

The Monroe County School District told the Miami Herald in a statement: “The District is not, and has not, been involved in litigation about this incident.

“Due to the possibility of this matter becoming a legal issue in the future, we have been advised not to make further comment about the incident at this time.”

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