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Family of seven-year-old boy with ADHD handcuffed by police in 2015 gets $40,000 settlement

The city of Flint and a local Michigan business group have agreed to pay $40,000 to settle a lawsuit over the handcuffing of a seven-year-old boy with ADHD at an after-school program in 2015.

Cameron McCadden was a second grade student attending the YouthQuest program on October 12, 2015 when he kicked a cart and ran onto the bleachers and the police were called.

The child, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, was placed in handcuffs and was forced to remain that way for more than an hour because the officer didn’t have the key.

In 2018 his mother Crystal McCadden, through the ACLU, filed a lawsuit against the Flint Police Department and the Flint-Genesee Chamber of Commerce, which runs the after-school program, for police use of excessive force against the child.

On Friday the lawsuit closed with a $40,000 settlement for the family, which will be used to create a fund to ‘help address Cameron’s needs’.

In the clip Crystal is heard saying: ‘You put my kid in handcuffs and you don’t even have the keys to get him out.’ 

The settlement agreement will also see new policies adopted by the after-school program and Flint Police Department.

They include no physical restraint or intervention except as a last resort at the after-school program, as well as no school officer involvement except in imminent danger, required documentation of physical restraint and notice to parents, and training for staff regarding disabilities.

‘What happened to Cameron is highly alarming and we don’t want any other child in Flint to have a similar experience,’ Mark Fancher, a staff attorney for Racial Justice Project of the ACLU of Michigan said in a statement.

‘We have been greatly encouraged by the willingness of the after-school program and the Flint Police Department to, as part of this settlement, give high priority to the protection of very young children, and to recognize that the role of police officers does not include tasks best performed by educators, counselors, therapists and other trained professionals,’ he added.

The police department’s juvenile offender policy will be revised to encourage officers to limit police involvement at schools to criminal offenses and not discipline issues, use alternatives to arresting juveniles, involve parents when possible and use the lowest level of enforcement for elementary school children.

Flint and the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce are each paying $20,000, according to a settlement filed last week in federal court. 

‘We are happy to have put this behind Cameron so he can move on with his life,’ Jonathan R. Marko, one of the attorneys who represented Chrystal McCadden and her son said.  

Crystal McCadden says she was never informed of any rule at the YouthQuest program that her son violated or given an explanation as to why he was handcuffed.

According to the lawsuit the boy’s behavior was ‘consistent’ with his disability which makes it ‘difficult for him to focus, maintain attention, control his behavior, follow directions, and stay seated.’

Before the settlement, a federal judge had dismissed former Police Chief Tim Johnson from the lawsuit, according to MLive.com. 

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