4th Grader Sues, Alleging Officer Assaulted Him At School

5:26 PM, Apr 11, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- The District banned paddling in public schools more than three decades ago, but what a DC police officer is accused of goes well beyond corporal punishment.

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing Officer David Bailey and the city, accusing the cop of slamming a 10-year-old boy's head into a desk, ripping him out of a chair, and sending him to the hospital with a concussion.

The ACLU is concealing the young man's identity in hopes of saving him anymore pain. But his mother has come forward, complaining first to the city's Office of Police Complaints, and now filing a federal lawsuit on her son's behalf.

"I received a text from him on he way home saying that a police officer had slammed his head into the desk," Chante Price says in a video provided by the ACLU.

It allegedly happened at Moten Elementary in Southeast a year ago. The 4th grader sent to the lunch room for failing to participate in music class, there Officer Bailey was lecturing the kids on self discipline, and the ten-year-old was talking to a friend about a book they were reading.

"At that point, the officer grabbed the back of T.P.'s head, slammed his head forward, down into the lunch table," says ACLU Attorney Jennifer Wedekind. "Then picked him out of his seat, threatened him with arrest essentially, and dropped him back in his chair."

T.P. went to an emergency room that night, complained of a headache for two weeks, and now says he's afraid to go to school.

"When parents send their kids to school, they expect them to be in a safe environment," says Wedekind. "They especially expect them to be safe from the adults who are supervising them. And this was a complete violation of that trust."

A school official at Moten says he knows the young man. Says he's a good kid, a decent student, a great artist, and no trouble at all.

"There was an assault, and I believe justice needs to be done," says his mom.

We were unable to reach the officer, and the schools and the DC Attorney General are declining comment. But in a statement, the police chief pointed out that prosecutors have decided against criminal assault charges against the officer.

The lawsuit alleges assault and battery and says the Officer violated the child's 4th Amendment protection from unlawful seizure.


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