A video of Key West police officers arresting an 8-year-old boy is getting criticism after attorney Ben Crump posted the video to his Twitter page. According to Crump, the boy is special needs.
The recording was from Dec. 14, 2018, and shows a Key West cop try to cuff the child after telling him he’s going to jail. When the officer attempts to cuff him he and his partner realize the boy’s wrists are too small so they have him put his arms in front of his body as he walks out of his school with the officers toward their cruiser.
Crump accuses the officers of using scared straight tactics, which is an effort to deter kids from breaking the law by scaring them. According to Crump, the officers took the 64-pound boy to an adult jail to scare him.
“The foundation of deterrence theory is that if punishment is swift, severe, and certain, it will deter criminal and delinquent behavior,” according to the National Institute of Justice.
It’s unclear exactly why Crump posted the video, which he called, “Unbelievable,” but Heavy has asked his office if there is a lawsuit over the case.
Police Were Called to the School After the Child Was Accused of Punching a Teacher
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! pic.twitter.com/iSTlXdKas6
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) August 10, 2020
According to the arrest report, the boy was arrested after punching a teacher. Officer Michael Malgrat wrote in the report that the teacher told him the boy wasn’t sitting in his cafeteria seat as instructed and after asking him to sit multiple times she asked him to sit by her. He refused and said, “don’t put your hands on me.”
Next, she instructed the child to walk with her which he did, but told her, “My mom is going to beat your a**,” before punching her, according to the arrest report.
By the time police arrived the boy was in the office, Officer Malgrat wrote in his police report that the child “had his hands clenched in fists and he was postured as if he was ready to fight,” the affidavit said.
The child was charged with a battery felony, but since he’s a juvenile what happened in the courts after the arrest is not available to the public.
Key West Police Chief Sean T. Brandenburg said, “based on the report, standard operating procedures were followed.”
In the Video the Officer Tells The Boy ‘I Hate That You Put Me In The Positon That I Have to do This’
In the video, the child is quiet and seems to be silently sobbing. A school staff member comforts him before the police take him to their car.
Then the officer tells the child, “I hate that you put me in this position, that I have to do this, alright. The thing about it is you made a mistake. Now it’s time to learn from it and grow from it, right? Not repeat the same mistake again.” Then he walks the child to the police car.
The video has gotten nearly 3,000 comments on Twitter, and over 1 million views, with many calling the officer who did most of the talking an abuser; some say that the child will be scarred for life; he’ll never trust the police, they said; the situation was handled poorly by the school who should’ve brought in social workers instead of police.
One Twitter user saw it differently, saying it wasn’t that bad, “I had expected to be outraged with this video, and indeed I am, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought – those cops were, I think, trying to teach this boy a lesson in a serious yet gentle way. Cops shouldn’t ever be used like this, but it wasn’t nearly as damning as I expected.”