Milledgeville Police Handcuff 6-Year-Old Girl for Misbehaving at School

6:24 PM, Apr 17, 2012   |    comments
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MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. - Milledgeville's acting police chief, Dray Swicord, said Tuesday that he stands by an officer's decision to handcuff an elementary school student for safety Friday after she allegedly threw a tantrum.

Swicord said the arresting officer is not under investigation for his actions. 

RELATED | Raw Video: Salecia Johnson's Parents Speak on Handcuffing

Meantime, the girl's parents are trying to rally community support.

The parents said they're meeting today with local activists and ministers.  Oscar Davis Jr., who identified himself as a community activist, said they plan to get attorneys involved and they plan to contact activist Al Sharpton.

 

According to the police report, kindergartner Salecia Johnson is accused of tearing items off the walls and throwing furniture.

She was crying in the principal's office at Creekside Elementary before police arrived Friday. The report says the girl knocked over a shelf that injured the principal. It also says she was seen biting the door knob of the office and jumping on the paper shredder. And, it says, she attempted to break a glass frame above the shredder.

The report says when the officer tried to calm the child, she resisted and was cuffed.

"Our policy is that any detainee transported to our station in a patrol vehicle is to be handcuffed in the back. There is no age discrimination on that rule," said Milledgeville Chief of Police Dray Swicord.

They took the child to the police station where she was charged with simple assault and damage to property. Because of her age, she will not be prosecuted. 

Her mother, Constance Ruff. says her daughter was suspended and cannot return to school until August.

 

"She has mood swings some days, which all of us had mood swings some days. I guess that was just one of her bad days that day," said Constance Ruff.

"She might have misbehaved, but I don't think she misbehaved to the point where she should have been handcuffed and taken downtown to the police department," said her aunt, Candace Ruff.

 

 

Johnson's parents told 13WMAZ's Judy Le Tuesday morning they have no further comment today. They did say that their daughter has been having nightmares since being taken from school last Friday and they plan to talk to a doctor about that.

 

13WMAZ spoke with several other Central Georgia police and sheriff's departments. None of them could remember handcuffing a child that young. They say the use of handcuffs would be at the officer's discretion and based on whether the child is a threat to herself or others.

"A 6-year-old in kindergarten. They don't have no business calling the police and handcuffing my child," said Earnest Johnson, Salecia's father.

"Call the police? Is that the first step? Or is there any other kind of intervention that can be taken to help that child?" asked Candace Ruff.

Police say they tried to contact Johnson's mother but weren't able to reach her.

 

 

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