The Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) in Maryland released a body cam video on Friday depicting two officers berating, threatening, and handcuffing a 5-year-old boy. The child’s mother subsequently filed a civil lawsuit accusing the officers of assault, false arrest, and emotional distress.
On January 14, 2020, the MCPD received a call concerning a 5-year-old boy who had run away from school and refused to return. According to the newly released body cam video, the officers immediately began yelling at the child before grabbing his wrist.
In addition to screaming directly into the crying boy’s face, the officers handcuffed one of his wrists and instructed his mother on how to beat him without leaving a mark. One of the officers shouted at the boy, “I hope your momma let me beat you.”
Shortly after the incident, the boy’s mother, Shanta Grant, filed a civil lawsuit accusing the two officers of causing emotional distress, assaulting her son, and false arrest. In a statement following the release of the footage on Friday, Attorneys Matthew E. Bennett & James N. Papirmeister representing Ms. Grant said: “Our client, Shanta Grant, brought this lawsuit on behalf of her then five-year old son in an effort to get justice and fair compensation for the trauma he endured. She also hopes that the incident will lead to changes in policy and training, both with the school and the police. She is looking forward to her day in court.”
“We all saw a little boy be mocked, degraded, put in the seat of a police car, screamed at from the top of an adult police officer’s lungs, inches from his face. This is violence,” Montgomery County Council member Will Jawando stated after reviewing the video.
In a press release, Jawando added, “The officers involved in this incident should be immediately fired and a robust investigation into both this incident and their past behavior must immediately take place.”
Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Superintendent Jack Smith and Board of Education President Brenda Wolff issued the following joint statement: “It was extremely difficult for us to watch the video of the incident involving a 5-year-old student at East Silver Spring Elementary School. Our heart aches for this student. There is no excuse for adults to ever speak to or threaten a child in this way. 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. In MCPS, we have a commitment to addressing the social-emotional well-being of our students, celebrating their strengths and helping them meet their full potential.”
Police officials have confirmed that both officers remained employed by the MCPD following an internal investigation into the incident.