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8-year-Old Boy Arrested for Assaulting his Teacher

An 8-year-old boy who reportedly assaulted a teacher was arrested by US police officers at a Florida primary school, only to discover the boy’s wrists were too small for the handcuffs. Part of the December 2018 arrest’s Key West police bodycam video was released Monday by civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who is representing the mother of the child.

She filed a federal complaint on Tuesday, alleging police were using excessive force, school administrators refused to intervene, and the board of the city and school violated the American Disability Act. The case suggests that the child has special needs.

Police in Key West declined to comment. Yet Key West Police Chief Sean Brandenburg said Monday in a statement to the Miami Herald that his officers did nothing wrong and they followed standard operating procedures. Mother of the boys, Bianca Digennaro, said her son was arrested, taken to prison, fingerprinted, DNA-swabbed in a Zoom press conference yesterday and had his mugshot taken that day.

The Investigation

The 8-year-Old Boy was charged with felony assault, said Mr Crump, who was 106 cm tall and weighed 29 kg. His mom battled the case nine months in court before a judge dismissed the charges. Mr Crump, Devon Jacob and Sue-Ann Robinson represent Ms Digennaro in the proceedings. Mr Jacob said the statement from the chief that this was a typical arrest was precisely the matter.

Monroe County Chief State Attorney Val Winter said in an email a mental health examination was performed on the boy, in consultation with his counsel, and concluded it was in the best interests of the child to drop the charges, based on the boy’s age and mental evaluation. If the office obtained assurance of services based on the doctor’s study, the case was dismissed, Mr Winter said. The Monroe County Public School declined to comment. The high school was not responding to a request for comment. The professor could not be contacted.

According to a Key West Police report, police moved to arrest the 8-year-Old Boy after he allegedly struck a teacher, who was uninjured. Mr Crump identified the teacher as a substitute. The teacher supervised a class in the lunchroom and said the student was not sitting on the bench seat correctly, the study states. She told him several times to sit properly and then told him to sit beside her. According to the police report, he declined, and she got up and walked over to him.

The Arrest

She said the student asked police not to place her hands on him as she approached him. The student allegedly started swearing at her and then hit her with his right hand in the face, the instructor said in the study. An officer saw the hands of the boy clenched in fists and he was posted as if preparing to fight. The instructor suffered no “obvious injuries” from the hit.

The portion of the police bodycam footage given by Mr. Crump then starts as three officers move to arrest the boy, who is sitting and weeping.

The officer asks him to place his hands on a cabinet and then pat down the child, the video shows. Afterwards, the officer tells the boy to place his hands behind his back and he complies. The officer is trying to put handcuffs on the boy, but the cuffs do not match his wrists quickly.

Instead, the officers ask him to place his hands in front of himself, the video shows, and then they start to walk him in the direction of a police car, but the video ends before they arrive.

The Complaint

Key West Police said they don’t release the entire bodycam video because the person is a young adult. Ms Digennaro said her son was diagnosed with ADHD, and oppositional defiant disorder, depression and anxiety, and he took medicine for them. As she says happened in this incident, when he starts having an episode he is responsive to someone touching him, she said.

The school board performed an assessment on the boy in February 2018. As per the complaint, listed him as having an “emotional or cognitive disorder.”

As the complaint claims, the school system has created an individualized curriculum plan tailored to its needs. Mr Crump said in a statement that the instructor had no understanding. Or concern for those needs and that the situation escalated. The police report did not mention whether he has special needs. So it is unclear if the teacher or police officer was aware of his condition.

The school contacted the boy’s parents before arresting him, according to the police report. The case reveals that the mother of the student was out of town. Also, the father came to the school before the boy was put in custody. Mr Jacob, the counsel for the victims, criticized the police conduct involved in the incident.

Mr Crump, also represents the family of George Floyd, state the 8-year-Old Boy is biracial. So, it is with an Italian mother and an African-American father. Ms Digennaro said her son, now 10, is doing fine but it was a horrific event.

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