police putting handcuffs on a 5-year-old boy


‘This is why people need to beat their kids’: Cops handcuff, accost 5-year-old student (updated)

The child is also called 'mad rude' and 'a violent little thing.'


Eilish O'Sullivan


Published Mar 28, 2021   Updated Mar 30, 2021, 1:57 pm CDT

Newly released body camera footage shows officers in Maryland screaming at and handcuffing a Black 5-year-old student when responding to a call to get the child to return to school.

An employee with the East Silver Spring Elementary School called the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) on Jan. 14, 2020, after a child allegedly ran away from school. The 51-minute video shows two MCPD officers responding to the call and eventually finding the child leaning against a car in a nearby residential neighborhood. “Come here buddy,” the male officer says to the child. “What’s going on, man? What are you doing?”

The child remains silent, and the officer questions why he thinks he can “make his own decisions” even though he isn’t an adult yet. “I don’t care if you don’t want to go to school, you don’t have that choice,” the officer says to him. “Do you understand?”

The officer then leads the now-crying child to the police cruiser, and a female school employee accompanying the officers assures the boy that she is riding back to school with him.

“Does your mama spank you?” the female officer questions the child. “She’s going to spank you today. I’m going to ask her if I can do it.”

“This is why people need to beat their kids,” she later adds.

When they get back to the school, the child is seated in an administrator’s office, and the female officer, at one point, screams in his face as he cries.

The child is also called “mad rude” and “a violent little thing.” Administrators at the school even take part in conversations with the police about how the boy should be disciplined at home.

The boy’s mother eventually arrives after she is called by the officers. The male officer tells the boy that handcuffs will be his best friend later in life when he gets to make his own decisions. The officer then demonstrates how the boy would get handcuffed by briefly placing the handcuffs on him. “These are for people who don’t want to listen and don’t know how to act,” he tells the child. “Is that how you want to live your life?”

According to a press release by the MCPD, an internal investigation into the incident has concluded, and the two officers remain employed by the MCPD. When reached for comment by the Daily Dot, the MCPD declined to comment further on the incident.

“Due to pending litigation, the Department has no further comment,” the press release states.

The 5-year-old’s family reportedly filed a lawsuit against the two officers, Montgomery County, and the Montgomery County Board of Education. The family is seeking monetary compensation, claiming the boy was assaulted and suffered mental anguish, according to 10 WBNS. One of the attorneys representing the child and his mother, James Papirmeister, told 10 WBNS that the boy had to undergo trauma therapy following the incident.

There are calls for the two officers to be terminated and for the administrators involved to be placed on leave and investigated.

“I also have a lot of concerns about MCPS,” Montgomery County Council President Tom Hucker told 10 WBNS. “To see not only the police, but MCPS staff talk to the mother about how you can hit your kid, but avoid a charge of child abuse is incredibly troubling. They make statements that suggest that they condone child abuse. And this is a terrified 5-year-old.”

When reached for comment, a representative for the Montgomery County Public Schools pointed the Daily Dot to its statement regarding the incident. “Our heart aches for this student,” Montgomery County Public Schools Board President Brenda Wolff and Superintendent Jack Smith said in the statement. “There is no excuse for adults to ever speak to or threaten a child in this way. … We also expect MCPS staff to follow outlined structures for student intervention and support, as well as school safety. … This incident also underscores the importance of having a team of professionals in all schools to support the diverse needs of our students.”

This post has been updated.

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*First Published: Mar 28, 2021, 4:59 pm CDT