/  10.21.2021

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii has intervened after a 10-year-old Black girl was handcuffed and detained by police for drawing a picture of her bully. According to reports, the child, who is identified in legal documents as “N.B.,” drew a sketch of her alleged bully in January of 2020.

The bully’s parent ended up seeing the drawing and “was very upset and essentially demanded” that Honowai Elementary School administrators call the police, a lawyer representing the girl’s family says. Officers from the Honolulu Police Station came to the school to arrest N.B., who is reportedly diagnosed with ADHD, and handcuffed her in front of her classmates.

The child was then taken to the police station, detained and interrogated by cops, all without a parent present.

“I was stripped of my rights as a parent and my daughter was stripped of her right of protection and representation as a minor,” her mother, Tamara Taylor, wrote in a letter to school administrators after the incident. According to the ACLU, Taylor was also illegally detained.

“There was no understanding of diversity, African American culture and the presence of police involvement with African-American youth,” she added.

N.B. was eventually released from custody to her mother and was not charged with any crimes. Now, The Hill reports, the ACLU is seeking $500,000 in damages on behalf of the child and her mother. The organization is also calling on the school, Department of Education and police department to enact new policies.

“Without probably cause, N.B. was handcuffed with excessive force and taken to the police station by HPD (Honolulu Police Department),” the organization wrote in a letter. “… The actions of HPD officers and DOE (Department of Education) staff that day not only constituted false arrest and imprisonment in violation of Ms. Taylor’s and N.B.’s right to be free from unreasonable seizures and excessive force, but they were also grossly negligent and violated Ms. Taylor’s and N.B.’s equal protection and civil rights…”

Speaking with Hawaii News Now, ACLU of Hawaii Legal Director Wookie Kim added that the situation was “just straight up wrong” and said, “There’s nothing that condones or justifies that.” According to the ACLU, N.B. changed schools shortly after the incident.

“My daughter and I are traumatized from these events and sure that there is no future for us at Honowai Elementary,” Taylor wrote in her letter. “I’m disheartened to know that this day will live with [N.B.] as a memory forever.”


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