Montgomery County, MD — As the Free Thought Project reported at the time, utterly infuriating, sickening, and disturbing footage was released showing the nature of the expanding police state into schools. In the video, a five-year-old boy is detained, abused, handcuffed, and taunted by two Montgomery County police officers who have zero business possessing a badge and a gun.
The incident was so shocking that three months later, lawmakers proposed legislation to hold cops more accountable in an effort to prevent future scenarios.
This week, the taxpayers of Montgomery County were told they would be held liable for the officers in the case — to the tune of $275,000, with $220,000 of it being paid on behalf of Officers Dionne Holiday and Kevin Christmon and $55,000 paid on behalf of the Board of Education, according FOX 5.
"We are pleased to see that the parties involved in this case reached a settlement; I had been pushing for this for quite some time. This incident has been thoroughly reviewed, including as part of the external audit conducted by Effective Law Enforcement for All (ELE4A), and has led to changes in officer training, incident reporting processes, and clarification of how officers should interact with students in our schools."County Executive Marc Elrich said.
The incident took place in 2020 and footage from the officers' body cameras was released the following March as part of the lawsuit brought on by the boy's parents. For over a year the public had no idea cops were treating children like this.
“We didn't find out about this until 14 months after the fact,” Montgomery County Council President Tom Hucker said. “So of course we have to wonder, how often this may have happened in the past, and whether it will happen again in the in the future and we wouldn't find out.”
In the video, police officers detain the boy because he allegedly acted out in school and then walked off campus.
What should have been a calm conversation and chat about the boy's poor decisions, morphed into a bully match in which the two cops appeared to want to out do each other on the level of abuse they could dish out.
Hucker's bill, which passed in November of 2021, has several parts which seek to prevent future abuses. As NPR reports:
The measure, Bill 18-21 Police – Internal Affairs Procedures and Reporting Requirements, requires that officers wear cameras whenever they're in uniform (currently, plainclothes officers who don't typically wear body cameras don't always have access to them in situations where they are in uniform).
The bill also puts in place a process for randomized internal affairs reviews of body-worn camera footage, including defining the instances where the police department's internal affairs division is required (broadly: when an officer uses force, when an incident involves a minor, when an officer is on the scene of a death or a serious injury, or when an officer has possibly discriminated against someone or committed a crime).
In all of those circumstances, the bill requires that information about the investigation be immediately reported to the police chief, who then has 24 hours to pass the information on to the county executive and county council. The chief must also alert the State's Attorney if there is a possibility that an officer committed a crime.
For other matters, the bill requires the internal affairs division to report body worn camera findings to the police chief monthly. Every quarter, the chief will have to notify the council and county executive of any internal affairs investigations that have been going on for longer than 180 days.
“The main thing is we got to make sure we know what our officers are doing out there, and then if they're doing anything wrong, it's brought to our attention right away,” Hucker said.
“Accountability and ultimately public confidence in our police," Hucker said the bill aims to do. "It's not good for the police at all if the public is concerned about them and worries that they're out harming children.”
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And as the video below shows, cops were most assuredly "out harming children" and, according to Hucker, the chief knew about it and said nothing.
The video begins when the officers pick up the boy near the school. From the get-go, the officers were angry and abusive, taunting the boy and daring him to act out.
"You feel like you can make your own decisions? Are you an adult? Are you 18? So why are you out of school?" a male officer can be heard saying to the boy in the video. "I don't care if you don't want to go to school. You do not have that choice, do you understand?"
He is then forced into the back of the cruiser and brought back to school. When the officers get the boy in the office, they repeatedly yell at him, shove him around, and threaten to beat him. He is five.
When the child starts panicking and crying when faced the abuse, the officers threaten him telling him that he "better stop."
"Does your mother spank you? … She's going to spank you today. I'm going to ask her if I can do it," the female cop tells the child.
The threats of violence appear to cause the child to cry uncontrollably and he is then picked up by the male cop who shoves him into a chair.
"Shut that noise!" the female cop yells.
"When you get older, when you want to make your own decisions, you know what's going to be your best friend? These right here," the male cop says while holding handcuffs.
"These are for people who don't want to listen and don't know how to act," the male officer says, putting a handcuff on one of the child's wrists and placing his hands behind his back. "Is that how you want to live your life?"
The boy is then put in handcuffs in front of his mother and the video ends.
The officers' conduct is described as "malicious, grossly negligent, reckless and in deliberate disregard of the emotional stress it would inflict on the child,” in the court document.