Following an October 2015 incident concerning a seven-year-old child being placed in handcuffs at school, the parties involved have recently agreed to settle for $40,000. Half will be paid by the city of Flint, Michigan, and the other will be paid by the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. The mother of the young boy, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, filed the lawsuit in 2018. The police were called after the child kicked an object and ran on bleachers while participating in an after-school activity. In order to calm the child, a resource officer handcuffed his hands behind his back for almost an hour. The apparent reason for the prolonged detainment was that the officer was not able to locate a key to unlock the handcuffs.
The mother of the child filed the lawsuit, naming several allegedly responsible parties, including the city of Flint, the Flint chief of police, the resource officer who handcuffed her son, and the chamber of commerce, which sponsored the after-school activity. She initially sought monetary damages and asked for a judge to rule that the officer’s actions were illegal or excessive. The child’s mother recounts the memory of walking into the school and seeing her 55-pound, seven-year-old child sitting with handcuffs behind his back in the foyer to the school building. They were to remain in that location until another officer could return to the school with the necessary key to release the handcuffs.
Not only will the family of the child receive monetary compensation, but the use of physical restraints will no longer be used unless as a last resort. Flint police officers are also advised to not become involved in school-related discipline. Legal counsel for the plaintiff has argued that police officers are not trained to handle children with disabilities and should be left to maintain order on the streets of Michigan.