A video of an eight-year-old boy arrested at Gerald Adams Elementary School in Key West, Florida, for allegedly punching a teacher in the chest has recently emerged. The child’s arrest occurred in 2018 but has just now become public.
Attorney Ben Crump posted the video on Twitter. He will be representing the family in a civil suit against the City of Key West school officials, Monroe County School District, and the arresting officers.
Timothy O’Hara writes in The Key West Citizen.
The video shows police officers Kenneth Waite and Carter Sims asking the boy to turn around and put his hands behind his back in an attempt to handcuff the child. Waite attempted to handcuff the boy, but the handcuffs did not fit on the child because he was so small. The officers walked the boy to an awaiting police cruiser.
The child was eventually arrested on a charge of felony battery, according to a Key West Police Department arrest report.
The boy’s mother said Monday her attorneys plan to file the lawsuit and hold a news conference virtually on Tuesday. She declined to comment about the incident on Monday.
Police said the incident began when a teacher and the student got into an argument because the child refused to sit properly at the cafeteria.
The bodycam video shows two officers searching the boy before one of them tries to place the boy in handcuffs.
“Your hands are too small. Keep your hands in front of you like this, OK?” the officer is heard telling the student.
After realizing the handcuffs were too big, the officers decided to walk the boy outside.
An officer attempted to explain the situation to the crying child.
“This is very serious, OK? I hate that you put me in this position that I have to do this,” said the officer. “The thing about it is, you made a mistake, and now it’s time to learn from it and grow from it, right? Not repeat the same mistake again, OK?”
The boy was then booked on a felony battery charge at a juvenile justice facility in Key West.
Crump said the boy is a special needs student and did not pose a threat to anyone.
The attorney said the child was placed with a substitute teacher who “had no awareness or concern about his needs and who escalated the situation by using her hands to forcibly move him.”
The news organizations did not identify the particular needs of the boy.