Milledgeville Chief Defends Handcuffing

6:23 PM, Apr 17, 2012   |    comments
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Milledgeville's police chief today read a statement explaining why an officer handcuffed an unruly 6-year-old at school.

Acting Chief Dray Swicord said Salecia Johnson was handcuffed and taken from Creekside Elementary last Friday after she caused damage and injured the principal. 

He said an officer was called to the school "to assist with an unruly juvenile who had damaged other students' property, school property, and had injured the principal."

According to the chief, the principal told the officer that Salecia had also run away from school several times.

He said police were called after school officials couldn't reach the girl's parents. 

Swicord said the girl was taken in handcuffs to the police station. There, the cuffs were removed and the girl was taken to a meeting room and given something to drink while officers continued trying to reach family.

Swicord said they eventually reached an aunt. The girl was released to the aunt's custody and was not charged because of her age.

The chief said Salecia "was never placed in a holding cell or jail cell and the student's safety was of the utmost importance."

He left without answering questions.

Earlier today, Swicord said he stood by his officer's actions and he doesn't plan any further investigation of the matter.

After Swicord's news conference, Oscar Davis Jr., who described himself as a community activist, made a statement of his own.

He criticized how police and school officials handled the case.

He said, "The school never called the parents" -- even though Johnson's mother told 13WMAZ that she received calls on her cell phone but couldn't answer because it was out of minutes.

Davis also denied that the 6-year-old had run away from school.
He said the child had misbehaved before in school, but said that was just normal problems for a child of that age.

He also questioned school officials' claims that Johnson injured the principal. He challenged them to release hospital records.

According to the police report, 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.

The parents said they're meeting today with local activists and ministers. Davis said they plan to get attorneys involved and they plan to contact activist Al Sharpton.

Johnson's parents told 13WMAZ's Judy Le Tuesday morning they would 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.




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