Harrowing video surfaced Monday from a 2018 incident where police officers attempted to handcuff a crying eight-year-old boy in his elementary school and told him he’s going to jail.
Bodycamera footage from the December, 14, 2018 incident shows two cops in front of the sitting child, who reportedly had special needs, at Gerald Adams Elementary in Key West, Florida.
The boy punched a teacher in the chest and was arrested on a felony battery charge, according to the arrest report. The boy’s name was not listed in the report due to his age.
Although the incident took place two years ago it has sparked outrage this week after Tallahassee attorney Ben Crump, who represents the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, shared video of the arrest Monday.
‘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!’ he tweeted.
‘Scared straight’ is a strategy used to deter juvenile delinquents from a life of crime by briefly placing them in adult prisons to expose them to the stark reality of incarceration.
In this case the boy wasn’t sent to an adult prison, but cops attempted to place him in cuffs and told him he’s going to jail.
It’s not immediately clear if the resurfaced video is in a civil case against the Key West Police Department.
One officer behind the camera says, ‘You’re going to jail. So you need to stand up and put your hands behind your back.’
An officer then frisks the child as he puts his hands on a cabinet and is then placed in handcuffs, but they’re too large and don’t fit.
The little boy looks down and complies with the officers and whimpers and cries as he’s asked to walk out of the school.
A teacher is seen coming to the boy and comforting him before he’s escorted out of the school.
‘You understand this is very serious okay and I hate that you put me in this position and I have to do this. 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,’ an officer sternly tells the boy as he nods.
The clip ends with officers escorting the child towards a squad car.
The boy was then booked into a juvenile justice facility in Key West.
The status of the case is not immediately known.
According to the arrest report the boy’s teacher said the child was not sitting properly in his cafeteria bench seat.
The teacher asked him several times to sit down but he didn’t comply and she asked him to sit next to her.
He refused and told her, ‘Don’t put your hands on me.’
She then told the boy to walk with her and he told her, ‘My mom is going to beat you’re a**’ and punched her with his right hand.
Officer Michael Malgrat wrote in the report that he was in the school’s administrative office when the teacher and the boy arrived and the boy ‘had his hands clenched in fists and he was postures as if he was ready to fight.’
Key West Police Chief Sean T. Brandenburg said in a statement Monday his officers did nothing wrong.
‘Based on the report, standard operating procedures were followed,’ he said.
Key West police spokeswoman Alyson Crean said she did not know the video was released.
Former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro shared the video on Monday, slamming the incident as ‘unbelievable’.
‘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,’ he said.