The Montgomery County Police Department has released year-old body camera footage from an incident involving the arrest of a 5-year-old-boy. Community members are outraged by how the young boy was treated, and are now calling for the officers to be fired, NBC Washington reports.
In January 2020, two Montgomery County officers were called to East Silver Spring Elementary School in Silver Spring, Maryland. A kindergartner reportedly left class and wandered off the school’s premises. That’s when the 50-minute video from the officer’s body camera begins. As police approach the boy, who was found almost a half a mile away, one of the officers starts to question him.
“You feel like you can make your own decisions?” the police officer asks. “You feel like you can do what you want?” Other aggressions take place later on in the video. “Does your mama spank you? She’s going to spank you today,” one of the officers says.
One of the most disturbing incidents within the video occurs when the young boy is reunited with his mother. An officer takes out a pair of handcuffs and places the little boy’s small wrists inside them. “You know what these are for? These are for people who don’t want to listen and don’t know how to act,” the officer says.
Seeking justice, the child’s mother filed a lawsuit earlier this year against Montgomery County, Montgomery County police department and Montgomery County public schools. “I watched in horror as what can only be described as a nightmare unfolded for nearly an hour,” Montgomery County Council member Will Jawando tweeted. “It made me sick.”
Montgomery County school officials also released a statement, calling the video “extremely difficult” to watch. “Our heart aches for this student. There is no excuse for adults to ever speak to or threaten a child in this way,” the statement reads. “As parents and grandparents, we know that when families send their children to school, they expect that the staff will care for them, keep them safe and use appropriate intervention processes when needed.”
Community organizers from Silver Spring Justice Coalition and Young People For Progress drafted an open letter calling for the officers to be suspended or fired and for the county to provide compensation and mental health help for the child.
“The incident made national news, but over a year later, it has not been fully addressed. This delay in accountability is unjustifiable and unacceptable,” the letter states. Montgomery County police have confirmed in a statement that both officers remain employed with the department following an internal investigation.