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VIDEO: Police Face Federal Lawsuit After Arresting 8-Year-Old Boy For Attacking Teacher

Key West, FL – Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump has announced he plans to file a federal law suit against the Monroe County School District and Key West Police Department (KWPD) for arresting an eight-year-old boy after the child allegedly punched a teacher in her chest (video below).

Bodycam footage showed KWPD officers as they calmly conducted a pat-down of the crying boy inside Gerald Adams Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2018, the Miami Herald reported.

They attempted to handcuff the child, but abandoned the effort after discovering his wrists were too small for the cuffs to be used properly, the video showed.

According to police, the incident began after the boy repeatedly refused to sit in his seat in the school cafeteria, despite his teacher’s requests, the Miami Herald reported.

The teacher told investigators that she was concerned about the child’s safety, so she ultimately told him he needed to sit down next to her, according to the arrest report.

But the boy allegedly ignored her directive and warned her not to “put her hands on [him],” the teacher said.

At that point, the teacher told the child to walk with her, police said.

“My mom is going to beat your -ss,” he retorted, just before he punched her in the chest with his right hand, according to the arrest report.

The teacher brought the out-of-control child to the school’s administrative office, where they encountered KWPD Officer Michael Malgrat, the Miami Herald reported.

Officer Malgrat noted in the arrest report that the child “had his hands clenched into fists and was postured as if he was ready to fight.”

KWPD ended up arresting they boy on a felony battery charge, the Miami Herald reported.

“You understand this is very serious, OK?” one of the officers told the child as they were leaving the school. “I hate that you had to put me into this position to do this. The thing about it is, you made a mistake. Now it’s time for you to learn about it and to grow from it, not repeat the same mistake again.”

The boy was ultimately booked into the juvenile justice facility in Key West, according to the Miami Herald.

The Monroe County State Attorney’s Office refused to prosecute the case, and the charge was dropped in October of 2019.

Crump posted the bodycam footage of the child’s arrest to Twitter on Sunday.

He alleged that the boy has “special needs,” and bizarrely claimed he was taken to “an adult prison for processing.”

“Unbelievable!! @KWPOLICE used ‘scared straight’ tactics on 8yo boy with special needs. He’s 3.5 ft tall and 64 lbs, but they thought it was appropriate to handcuff and transport him to an adult prison for processing!! He was so small the cuffs fell off his wrists!” the civil rights attorney wrote.

Crump said that the boy’s mother has retained him and Pennsylvania attorney Devon Jacobs, and that they will be filing a federal lawsuit against KWPD and the school district this week, the Miami Herald reported.

Crump is also representing the family of George Floyd, who died while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department on May 25.

“This is a heartbreaking example of how our educational and policing systems train children to be criminals by treating them like criminals,” he said in a statement to the Miami Herald. “If convicted, the child in this case would have been a convicted felon at eight years old. This little boy was failed by everyone who played a part in this horrific incident.”

KWPD Chief Sean Brandenburg defended his officers in a statement on Monday.

He noted that they followed “standard operating procedures” and had done absolutely nothing wrong, the Miami Herald reported.

The Monroe County School District refused to comment on the incident due to potential pending litigation.

“Due to the possibility of this matter becoming a legal issue in the future, we have been advised not to make further comment about the incident at this time,” the district told the Miami Herald on Monday.

Watch the incident unfold in the video below.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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