The 8-year-old boy weighed 64 pounds and stood at three-feet, six-inches but the Florida cops were not going to take any chances, ordering him to turn around and place his hands behind his back, patting him down for any weapons.
When the cuffs slipped off his wrists because they were too big, the cops ordered the boy to hold his hands in front of him as they led him out of the school to take him to jail on a felony battery charge, one cop in front of him, two cops behind him.
Key West police say the boy “had his hands clenched into fists and he was postured as if he was ready to fight” when they first encountered him after a teacher brought him into the administrative office at Gerald Adams Elementary in Key West, according to the Miami Herald which obtained the arrest report.
The teacher had been trying to get him to sit down in a designated area in the lunchroom but he was refusing to comply, so she tried to physically force him to sit which is when he punched her in the chest, telling her, “don’t put your hands on me.”
The teacher did not report any injuries but believed the boy needed to be taught a lesson so she marched him to the officer to speak with Key West police officer Michael Malgrat who is the school resource officer.
Malgrat also believed he needed to be taught a lesson so they took him to jail him on a felony battery charge, fingerprinting and photographing him before placing him in a cell where he was released on his own recognizance a few minutes later. They also swabbed his mouth for DNA in an apparent attempt to connect him to any unsolved crimes.
“I hate that you had to put me into this position to do this,” Key West police officer Kenneth Waite told the sobbing boy as they were leading him out of the school.
“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.”
But those scare tactics left the boy traumatized and the teachers and cops should have known better, according to the boy’s mother, Bianca Digennaro, who retained attorneys Benjamin Crump and Davon Jacob to take the case.
According to the lawsuit filed earlier today which you can read here, school district guidelines that should be familiar to both cops and teachers dictate that “non-physical responses” be used to control unruly behavior because of the child’s disabilities.
The lawsuit also accuses cops and teachers of violating the boy’s Fourth and 14 Amendment rights as well as the Americans with Disability Act.
The incident took place in December 2018 but the video just surfaced because of the lawsuit.
“Based on the report, standard operating procedures were followed,” Key West Police Chief Sean T. Brandenburg said in a statement released to the media.