Was it justified discipline or a police officer physically abusing a 10-year-old boy?
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit claiming that while addressing students at Moten Elementary School, a D.C. police officer attacked the boy.
According to the lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court, the officer routinely stopped by the school as part of his beat. This particular day teachers had sent several unruly students to the cafeteria to receive a lecture from the neighborhood cop, with no other adults present.
The ACLU released a video of a boy they're calling TP in the lawsuit. TP is 11 now, but 10 a year ago when sent to the cafeteria for disciplinary reasons.
The lawsuit says MPD Officer David E. Bailey Jr. grew angry when he saw the boy talking to a classmate while he was talking to the group.
"The officer grabbed the 10-year-old boy by the back of his head and slammed his forehead forward into the cafeteria table," says Jennifer Wedekind, an ACLU attorney. "He then picked the boy up by his shirt and dropped him into a chair."
The boy's mother, Chante Price, says in the video that her son suffered headaches. Last May she filed a complaint with the Office of Police Complaints.
The case was then referred to the U.S. Attorney, who decided last month not to prosecute, saying criminal charges weren't filed because of "insufficient evidence to prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt."
In a public statement, Police Chief Cathy Lanier says: "While I can't comment on this specific case, I will say that police officers should be afforded due process just like anyone else, before judgment is passed. It should also be noted that criminal charges were declined in this matter."