A school resource officer in Kentucky handcuffed a crying third-grader with disabilities last year, according to a new video released by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The video accompanies a federal lawsuit filed Monday by lawyers on behalf of two children against the Kenton County Sheriff’s Office in Covington, Kentucky. The complaint alleges that a school resource officer unlawfully handcuffed an 8-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl, both of whom have disabilities, in the fall of 2014.
“As a result of being subjected to unnecessary and excessive handcuffing, Plaintiffs experienced pain, fear, and emotional trauma, and an exacerbation of their disabilities,” the lawsuit reads. The complaint alleges violations of the U.S. Constitution and Americans with Disabilities Act.
Colonel Pat Morgan, a spokesman for the Kenton County Sheriff’s Office, told The Huffington Post that he was waiting for their attorneys to review the lawsuit before providing comment.
In the video, the boy, who allegedly has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and a history of trauma, is shown crying as an officer handcuffs his biceps behind his back. The ACLU claimed that he was placed in handcuffs for 15 minutes because of behavior related to his disabilities.
In the video, the officer tells the boy, “You don’t get to swing at me like that.” As he shackles the third-grader, who weighs about 50 pounds, the boy starts to cry and says that the officer is hurting him.
The use of shackles on youth in courtrooms, as well as in schools and treatment centers, is controversial. At least 100,000 children are shackled in the U.S. every year, David Shapiro, a campaign manager at the Campaign Against Indiscriminate Juvenile Shackling, told Mother Jones.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office reported in 2009 that it found hundreds of cases of alleged abuse and death related to the use of shackles and seclusion on school children over a two-decade period. The office identified at least 20 allegations that involved restraints and resulted in death.
They noted the case of a 7-year-old girl who died at a private treatment center after being restrained face-down on the floor for hours. “The staff was allegedly unaware she had stopped breathing until they rolled her limp body over and discovered she had begun to turn blue,” the GAO wrote.