🇺🇲 Key West (Florida) Police arrested an 8-year-old at school

(CNN)Police officers at a Florida elementary school arrested an 8-year-old boy who had allegedly hit a teacher – only to realize the boy’s wrists were too small for the handcuffs.

Part of the Key West police bodycam footage of the December 2018 arrest was released on Monday by civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the boy’s mother.

On Tuesday she filed a federal lawsuit, claiming that the officers used excessive force, that school officials failed to intervene, and that the city and school district violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. The lawsuit says the boy has special needs.

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Key West Police arrested an 8-year-old at school. His wrists were too small for the handcuffs

By Eric Levenson and Tina Burnside, CNN

Updated 11:47 PM ET, Tue August 11, 2020

Bodycam footage shows 8-year-old boy arrested at school

Bodycam footage shows 8-year-old boy arrested at school 02:52

(CNN)Police officers at a Florida elementary school arrested an 8-year-old boy who had allegedly hit a teacher – only to realize the boy’s wrists were too small for the handcuffs.

Part of the Key West police bodycam footage of the December 2018 arrest was released on Monday by civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the boy’s mother.

On Tuesday she filed a federal lawsuit, claiming that the officers used excessive force, that school officials failed to intervene, and that the city and school district violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. The lawsuit says the boy has special needs.

Key West Police declined to comment to CNN, citing the litigation.

But in a statement to the Miami Herald on Monday, Key West Police Chief Sean T. Brandenburg said that his officers did nothing wrong and that they followed standard operating procedures.

The mother, Bianca N. Digennaro, said in a Zoom press conference Tuesday that her son was arrested, taken to jail, finger-printed, DNA-swabbed and had his mugshot taken that day.

The boy – who was 3-and-a-half-feet tall and weighed 64 pounds, Crump said – was charged with felony battery. His mother fought the case in court for nine months until a prosecutor dismissed the charges.

So, does he still hit teachers, or did he learn his lesson?

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In my day, the principle would have given you the paddle I expect. I don’t recall any students hitting a teacher though.

What puzzles me about this story is that the charges were active for nine months. I would have expected a stern warning to be given and then the charges to be dropped. There may be more to the story.

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The kid is reportedly a special needs kid. His mom also wasn’t available the day of the incident because she was getting a medical procedure done.

My guess is that this probably wasn’t his first rodeo with respect to hitting, and that the school likely has some policy that it was trying to uphold. Most of the cases involving a kid allegedly getting over-punished for some infraction involve a school policy that they apply to everybody equally, and it may look very reasonable for some situations but totally inappropriate for others.

This also happened a couple of years ago as the kid is 10 now.

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I recall it happening once, the teacher he hit was ex-military and a combat veteran and still in very good physical shape despite being a pensioner and technically past retirement age. He put the pupil on the ground in about two seconds and told him to grow up and stop this stupidity and sent him back to his seat. That was the end of it.

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One other thing about this story is that when I see a name like Ben Crump, who is associated with civil rights lawsuits and definitely uses the media to make his case and get attention with respect to these lawsuits, I know there’s an agenda in play. Likely the “police brutality” narrative here. That automatically makes me way more skeptical than if this story came out without Mr. Celebrity Civil Rights Lawyer’s name attached to it.

I would already be a little skeptical when I see there’s a lawsuit going on and a lawyer is releasing a 2-year-old video to the public in the middle of the lawsuit. That’s a lawyer trick. And when it’s a celebrity agenda-pushing lawyer, I’m doubly skeptical.

From what I can see the policeman gave the lad a bit of a telling of, obviously designed to shake him up a bit and then left the scene. He had no real intent to arrest an eight year old or drag him down to the cells to do a bit of porridge.

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That might be considered felony assault of a child where I am and land the teacher in jail.

There have been a lot of these incidents in recent years. Some of them make the news. The idea is to use a “Tough Love” approach, showing that actions have consequences, and basically scare the kid into behaving. Usually the kids are a bit older and bigger though.

When I was a kid, a child who hit teachers would likely have been paddled and suspended from school, or not even allowed to attend regular school in the first place because he was too violent.

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This was three decades ok and a different world, now yes it probably would be. Then if you hit a teacher you could expect to get a response like that or another teacher to arrive on scene and restrain you. Many of our teachers were quite tough old birds and some were ex military, some were working class blokes who had gone to university on scholarships when it was rare do so for people from such backgrounds.

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Seems a good idea and better certainly than really having to drag him down the police station a few years later…

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Ah…the old “police brutality” card. Or should I say new? I don’t know about the rest of you, but whenever I find myself in the presence of these men and women, who like the rest of us are just trying to make an honest living, I thank them, and remind them that some of us out there still have their backs!

This right here, this little blurb of a quote by this Police Chief, means that this is his policy, not a state law, which means that he has the ability to change said S.O.P if he wants to. Some are quick to blame the officers involved, others are quick to blame a bad parent who have no idea of what that parent or family are going through let alone not paying attention to see that the child has a disability.

Now think about this, police write traffic tickets all across the country left and right, but officers have the discretion to either issue a warning or give a ticket pending on the situation and state law, some states may have no wiggle room. So exactly why can’t police officers be given the right to use their own discretion in a situation like this, an say, okay i am going to stay here until the parent comes to pick up this child. After that it is a civil law suit between the parent ,teacher and school.

I took the personal time to go to the Key West Florida Police website, found the fax number for that department and fired a brief letter off directly to that Police Chief Brandenburg, expressing this an a little more, with out being my normal cheerful , and curt self as I am here.

Laws are completely different than police standard operating procedures , and police department policies. I pointed out that his policies are making his officers who are probably good and honest officers, look like complete monsters. An giving more reasons why some cities feel the need to defund the police. An the distrust they have put into his community. on an on. The letter was only a page and a half, if he got past the first sentence I would have been surprised but it wasn’t much to read. An it puts him on notice that people are taking notice.

That being said, while debating this here is fun. If you feel this is unjust what has happened to this child and family, it wont hurt for you to go look up the Key West Florida Police Department that this Police Chief serves in, and compose a respectful email, or fax or even snail mail and send it. Because debating it here isn’t going to change anything. An it is more constructive than debating it here and or demanding that a police department be de funded and join in the rioting and chaos across the nation.

now how old the article is, and if it is as old , why it wasn’t brought up sooner, i have no clue, but it still, doesn’t require a police officer to be pulled off the street fighting real crime to handle a special needs 8yr old boy, or any child that isn’t a teenager. Especially one who weighs under 100lbs soaking wet. If an adult cant simply walk away, or stay at a distance an keep an eye on the child until a principle comes along or a family member then they don’t belong near special needs children.

Yeah, I’m sure the cop is not thrilled about having to spend his time disciplining someone else’s 8-year-old when he could be out catching actual criminals.

I don’t see it as particularly unjust. It’s not like the kid was locked up for a year. Also, the vast majority of us who ever attended school knew that you don’t curse and punch the teacher when he or she tells you to do something. Kids who can’t comprehend that don’t belong in school with kids who are well-behaved. Violent kids are not only a distraction, but a danger to others.

My in-laws were both teachers and my father-in-law quit teaching partly because the kids were becoming badly behaved and violent, and he wasn’t permitted to exercise authority over them to get them to behave. They were allowed to just do what they felt like doing. So he got out of the teaching business.

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Special needs children can not always comprehend at the level one expects. an even still, if one is so stupid they cant handle an 8 yr old who is unruly , isn’t smart enough to keep their distance from said unruly child, an feels the need to put their hands on said child, they do not need to be a teacher let alone one for special needs.

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Again, if the kid has special needs to the degree where he can’t comprehend and follow simple rules of society regarding assaulting others, he belongs in some kind of special school where there are resources to deal with his behavior.
He does not belong in the public school with regular teachers and kids.

As for “if one is so stupid they can’t handle an 8-year-old”, there are a ton of legal restrictions that likely don’t let his teacher just grab him and subdue him. Plus, an 8-year-old violent kid can go well beyond “unruly” and get to the point of inflicting serious physical injury.

It’s easy to play armchair quarterback and tell the teacher what they should have done and feel all sorry for poor little kid…a lot harder when you actually have to be in the situation, or have your kid be sitting at the next desk when some disturbed, violent kid is having a meltdown. How about the trauma to the other kids in school from having to watch the disturbed kid act out all the time? That’s not pleasant and it may even be scary.

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Ever taught an unruly 8 year old?

My my local experience, an arrest is made under the appropriate charges but the DA declines to prosecute. It does the youth no harm but can be brought up again if there is a pattern of illegal behavior. If these charges were lingering for years, it sounds similar.

Calling the cops seems insane. It’s like taking out a fly with a bazooka.

If he’s that poorly behaved, suspend him from school and have his mom come get him. If his issues are so profound that he legitimately can’t stop striking people, then he needs to be in a special environment and not thrown in with everyone else.

I have read that 1in 40 kids in the US have autism, that’s a lot of kids, I wonder why that many. Does it have anything to do with kids diets today, environmental issues, the breakdown of families, are just plain out of control kids being diagnosed as having autism, it just seems excessive.

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