Disturbing video released Friday shows police officers berating, detaining and handcuffing a 5-year-old boy after he left school grounds and allegedly broke a computer in January.
The boy’s mother is suing the Montgomery County Police Department, saying officers abused her 5-year-old son.
Two police officers went to East Silver Spring Elementary School after the kindergartner walked off campus.
An officer attempted to walk the boy back to school before opting to put him in a patrol car.
The crying boy was taken into the school’s office, where the situation escalated.
The officers are heard calling the boy "a violent little thing" and "a beast."
At one point, a female officer is heard on camera telling the boy, “I hope your mama lets me beat you.”
Less than a minute later, as the child continued to cry and with school staff looking on, the same officer got in the boy's face, yelling at him.
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As they waited for the boy’s mother to arrive, school staff showed officers video of the child allegedly misbehaving in class. They told officers he hit someone and damaged property.
Once the boy’s mother arrived, she told officers about her concerns disciplining her son at home.
“I can’t discipline him, because the government won’t allow you,” she said.
“Yes, you can,” the female officer replied.
“I spank him, but I can’t discipline him how I want to discipline him because of this,” the mother said. “I’m not losing my child to the system and I’m not going to prison. I just want to show you all he is not being physically abused.”
“Who said he was?” the female officer asked.
“We believe it’s the exact opposite,” the male officer said.
“Yeah, we want you to beat him," the female officer said.
The video ends with the officers speaking to the mom in another room.
The boy was taken in for a final word from the officers.
“When you get older, when you want to make your own decisions, you know what’s going to be your best friend?” the male officer said, showing the boy handcuffs.
“This was a systemic failure,” said Councilman Will Jawando, who was disgusted by the video, which many council members saw for the first time.
“I kind of knew what I was going to see, but it was worse than that,” Jawando said. “And so, I’ve just been saying I’m so sorry to that child and to the mother.”
“I didn’t find out about this until the plaintiffs filed suit in January,” Jawando said. “No one told us — the police department, the school system — that’s another failure.”
An internal investigation was conducted. The results are shielded by Maryland law.
The department said both officers are still on the force.
“You don’t deserve to hold the public trust if you have that poor judgement,” Jawando said.
Montgomery County police would not comment on the incident due to pending litigation. The boy's mother is also seeking monetary damages from the county and the school system.
Montgomery County Public Schools did not respond to request for comment.