Body cam video of police interaction with 5-year-old shows 'every adult in this situation failed this child'
March 31, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 27.9%. 3 min read.
A Maryland police department is under a spotlight after body camera video was released showing officers locate a 5-year-old boy who fled school, return him to the building and scream in his face, berate him and encourage his mother to physically abuse him.
(CNN)A Maryland police department is under a spotlight after body camera video was released showing officers locate a 5-year-old boy who fled school, return him to the building and scream in his face, berate him and encourage his mother to physically abuse him.
The officers are heard in the footage talking casually about crating the boy like a "beast," denying him a nap as punishment for bad behavior, calling him a "violent little thing," handcuffing him, and suggesting he should be hit with a keyboard hard enough for keys to lodge into his backside because the boy was alleged to have broken a computer at school.
Attorneys for the family said they knew about the handcuffing, which happened in front of the boy's mother after she arrived at the school.
Toward the end of the ordeal, during which the boy is with officers and school staff who don't intervene or discourage the conversation, an officer tells him his mother will "take care" of him.
In a statement, the Montgomery County police department said officials conducted and completed an internal investigation but refused to say whether Christmon or Holliday had been disciplined.
A school spokeswoman also wouldn't say whether the district asked police to redact identities of school officials from the video released by police, which only shows the faces of the two officers and the boy's mother.
At one point, a school official tells the boy's mother that they're only required to report abuse depending on the language she uses to describe it.
A spokesperson wouldn't say whether any school administrator has been disciplined for any conduct seen in the video and said there's an ongoing internal investigation.
It's not clear whether any school official present took issue with the boy's treatment by police, and a spokesperson for the school district said she's not aware of any contemporaneous notes taken by school staff.
The incident began when the 5-year-old kindergarten student at East Silver Spring Elementary School left school grounds and administrators called police, but Holland said the officers shouldn't have even been there in the first place.
The officer asks his age, and the boy says, "Five. "
He asks the boy why he's out of school, and then says he doesn't care if the boy doesn't want to go to school.
The boy says "no, no, no" as they approach the squad car, and one of the women tells him there's no crying; it's not clear if it's the voice of the other officer or a school administrator.
The boy is crying hard enough that he starts coughing and is left alone in the squad car while the officer walks around the other side and cleans off his front seat for the school administrator.
While in the office waiting for the boy's mother, the officers talk about beating the child and that he should be beaten in front of school administrators, who don't object.
One school official tells officers the boy's mother said she "whips" him, but the officers both express skepticism because of how the boy's behaving.
In less than three minutes, Christmon can be heard yelling at the boy to sit down and is seen lifting him into a chair, calling him a "violent little thing," suggesting that "pieces of that keyboard go right into that butt" after school officials said he broke a computer, that he "wouldn't be able to sit down nowhere," and lunges across the room after the boy pushes a phone away from a school employee, causing the boy to retreat and cower from the officer.
During much of the video, the officers and school administrators talk about the boy as if he's not there.
Administrators called the boy's mother to the school, and at one point during a phone conversation, she overheard someone asking about whether anything might be going on at home.
The video concludes with the officers leaving a conference room where the officers and a school official talk with the boy's mother about the extent to which she's allowed to hit her child and what type of language would trigger a school official to report suspected abuse to social services.
The boy's mother explains to the officers that two people at the school had mentioned child protective services to her in the past.
Someone from the school brings the boy back into the room at Holliday's request, and his mother asks him what's going on.
"You want the police officer to take you?" the boy's mother asks.
And to the boy, the officer says, "Enjoy yourself today when you get that whooping. "