However, when a male officer and a female officer arrived on January 14, 2020, body camera footage showed them repeatedly threatening and mocking the boy. “I don’t care if you don’t want to go to school,” an officer was heard telling the child. “You don’t have that choice. Do you understand? Come back over there! Now!” The policeman grabbed the child by the arm and pulled him back towards the school. When he started crying, the policewoman yelled: “There is no crying!” The other officer on site added: “Cut it out!” At one point in the encounter, the policewoman asked the child if his mother had beaten him, and the other policewoman replied, “probably not”. “She’s going to beat you up today. I’ll ask her if I can,” said the policewoman.
At another point in the encounter one of the officers said: “Stop the sound now! I hope your mama let me hit you. “
When the child’s mother arrived, she told officials that she would not hit her child because it was illegal. She took off his shirt to prove she didn’t and the policewoman replied, “We want you to hit him.” She went on to explain to the mother that while she cannot use a weapon, “you can hit that butt repeatedly.”
When the officers dragged the mother and her child into a conference room, the male police officer handcuffed one of the child’s arms and told him, “As you get older and want to make your own decisions, you know what your best will be, friend ? These – do you know what they are? These are handcuffs. These are for people who don’t want to listen and don’t know how to act.”
The Montgomery County Police Department said in a statement posted on YouTube Friday with footage from the body camera that the department did a “Thorough investigation” of the incident. “The internal investigation is finished. The results of this internal investigation, as in all internal matters under Maryland law, are confidential. Both officers remain employed by the Montgomery County Police Department, ”the police said in a statement. “Due to pending litigation, the department has no further comment.” The names of the officers were not published.
WARNING: This video contains content that may be triggered for some.
Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith and School Board President Brenda Wolff also released a statement Friday. “It was extremely difficult for us to watch the video of the incident with a 5-year-old student from East Silver Spring Elementary School. Our hearts ache for this student,” they said. “There is no excuse for adults to ever speak.” threatening or threatening a child in this way. “
Smith and Wolff added in the statement:
“As parents and grandparents, we know that when families send their children to school, they expect staff to look after them, protect them and employ appropriate intervention procedures when necessary. At MCPS, we are committed to promoting the socio-emotional wellbeing of our students, celebrating their strengths and helping them reach their full potential. Our system is very important to all students, and we honor the growth and development of every child. No child is bad. We also expect the MCPS staff to adhere to the established structures for student intervention and support, as well as for the safety of the school. We asked MCPS leadership to ensure that the school system’s procedures and expectations are clear to all staff. This incident also highlights the importance of having a team of professionals in all schools to support the diverse needs of our students.
While we are unable to comment on this incident due to pending litigation, we would like to reassure the MCPS community that we work tirelessly to ensure that all MCPS schools are safe places where students can learn, thrive, and achieve their highest potential . “
Councilor Nancy Navarro said the WTOP-FM police video of the incident should have been shared with the council a long time ago. “This council should have received this footage and been given ample time, and we requested it, so this is also a real issue with the way the administration has handled this particular footage,” she said. “As a mother and as a resident of this district, this leaves a lot to be desired.”
Montgomery County Council member Will Jawando, an advocate of police reform, told WTOP the encounter indicated “a total failure of our system.” “You just have to be appalled – appalled and frankly disgusted – at the failure of multiple adults, multiple systems – the school system, the police department – to protect this kid who is a kindergarten teacher, a 5 year old who wandered around and almost became Insulted for an hour, ”said Jawando. “Handcuffed and called ‘evil’ and yelled at, yelled at. He cries.
“Nobody should ever be treated like this, let alone a five-year-old … who was developmentally unable to withstand this type of abuse.” Jawando demanded that the officers involved be fired in a Facebook post on Saturday. He told the AP the video made him sick. “We have all seen a young boy being mocked, humiliated, seated in the seat of a police car and yelled at from the lungs of a grown-up cop just inches from his face,” he said. “This is violence.”
Montgomery County’s executive Marc Elrich said in a statement the AP received on Friday that he was asking the police chief to retrain the child-interacting officers. “Our police officers are not social workers, psychologists or therapists and should not provide advice or guidance on parenting,” he said in the statement. “Police operations should end as soon as school staff is present to take care of a child.”