Video of a Kentucky sheriff’s deputy handcuffing a screaming 8-year-old boy has sparked a lawsuit and anger among parents across the country.
The American Civil Liberties Union released the footage, taken by an administrator at Latonia Elementary School in Covington, Kentucky, on Monday as part of its lawsuit against the Kenton County Sheriff’s Office and school resource officer Kevin Sumner, who handcuffed the child, according to the Associated Press.
The 3-foot-6 third grader, identified as S.R., has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and a history of trauma, according to the ACLU. In the video, he is seen crying as Sumner makes him sit in a chair and handcuffs his biceps behind his back.
“You don’t get to swing at me like that,” Sumner tells him. “You can do what we’ve asked you to, or you can suffer the consequences.”
The 52-lb. boy is heard telling the officer, “That hurts,” amid sobs.
According to the lawsuit, the boy was removed from class in August because he was not following the teacher’s directions. When he tried to leave the principal’s office, he was restrained by school administrators until Sumner showed. At one point, the boy asked to go to the bathroom and Sumner escorted him. On the way back, things got heated.
The boy tried to hit Sumner with his elbow, according to a report from the Kenton County Sheriff’s office mentioned in the lawsuit. That’s when Sumner put S.R. in handcuffs.
The ACLU says the boy was in cuffs for 15 minutes.
“Shackling children is not okay. It is traumatizing, and in this case it is also illegal,” Susan Mizner, disability counsel for the ACLU, said in a statement.
The lawsuit accuses Sumner of handcuffing two children: 8-year-old S.R. in the fall of 2014 and a 9-year-old girl referred to as L.G.
Sumner’s attorney, Robert Sanders, said his client put the children in handcuffs because “they were placing themselves and other people in danger of harm and that’s what the book says to do,” the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.
The ACLU says Kentucky state regulations bar school officials from physically restraining students whom they know have disabilities. The suit claims officials knew the students had disabilities.
The suit also names Kenton County Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn, alleging he failed to adequately train and supervise Sumner, who works as a school resource officer for several public elementary schools in Covington. Documents also claim that the Kenton County Sheriff’s Office violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the U.S. Constitution based on its treatment of the children.