A D.C. police officer is accused of slamming a 10-year-old boy's head into a cafeteria table in an elementary school last year.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family. The boy’s mother, Chante Price, and her lawyers say the officer used excessive force, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the police chief have a different view of what happened inside that elementary school.
“We filed this lawsuit because we think it’s important that police officers understand they can’t just use this kind of force against a little kid, who’s 10 years old and weighed like 90 pounds,” said Art Spitzer, of the ACLU.
The incident happened inside Wilkinson Elementary School, which is now closed, after the boy was sent to detention for misbehaving in class.
According to court documents, Officer David Bailey Jr. of the 7th District police station, who was in the school as part of his daily patrol, slammed the boy’s head into the table, picked him up off his chair, threatened to arrest him and then dropped him back into his chair.
His mother refused to talk with reporters but gave this video interview to her lawyers
“I was worried about my child when he came home because I received a text from him on his way home saying a police officer had slammed his head into the desk and grabbed him by his shirt,” his mother said in a video interview to her lawyers.
The boy has returned to school, and his assistant principal says he’s a good student and a good artist, but his lawyer says he’s still having problems.
“He’s not as enthusiastic these days about going to school as he was before this incident,” Spitzer said. “He’s worried what might happen to him, and he also has a very different view of police officers than he had before this incident, when he thought they were people who protected him.”
The U.S. Attorney’s office investigated the incident but declined to press any charges.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office did not file criminal charges because of insufficient evidence to prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt,” spokesman William Miller said.
Bailey, a 14-year veteran of the department, remains on active duty.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier issued a statement noting the prosecutors declined to prosecute and saying all officers should be given due process before anyone rushes to judgment.
Follow Mark Segraves on Twitter at @SegravesNBC4