[WATCH] Cop Suspended for Carrying Unruly 4th-grader Over His Shoulder

A fourth-grader in Margate clearly was upset. He had exchanged words with another student in the cafeteria and refused to see the school counselor.

The boy parked himself in a room and refused to budge, even after a police officer assigned to the school talked to him.

So the officer slung the boy over his shoulder and carted him off. Two days later, he dragged the same boy down the hall by his shirt and then by his arm.

For his actions, officer Vonley Williams will be suspended without pay for a month. He earns about $81,000 annually.

A police investigation determined that Williams should not have gotten involved in a disciplinary issue and should not have lifted the child over his shoulder.

Although Williams has been praised for the work he does at the school, the way he treated the boy “serves to shake the very trust” that police-oriented school programs are meant to foster, police say.

Because Williams violated department policies, he also will receive a mandatory 40 hours of training, according to police records released Thursday.

Williams should have told the school, “Hey, this is an issue you need to handle,” Margate police spokesman Sgt. Robert Kriplean said.

Had school officials intervened and the boy became violent, and Williams had to step in, “that’s a totally different ballgame at that point,” Kriplean said.

But Williams’ police union representative said the department’s response to complaints from the child’s mother was too harsh.

Williams felt he was trying to help a child, said Fraternal Order of Police spokesman John Puleo. “He picked him up like a father would pick up a child. That’s what his intention was,” Puleo said. “There was no intention of use of force.”

Williams was hired to the department in 2002 and had been assigned to Atlantic West Elementary School since 2014.

He was commended in 2013 for saving a man after conducting CPR. But he has been suspended a total of 112 hours over five suspensions. The department alleged issues such as speeding on his way to work, cursing at a crime victim, not turning in traffic citations and destroying and losing evidence.

Police gave this account of the events at Atlantic West:

On Feb. 15, the 10-year-old boy exchanged words with another student in the cafeteria. Even after the students were separated, they continued to glare at each other.

The cafeteria monitor summoned help. The assistant principal responded, but the boy continued to be disrespectful and walk away from her.

Saying the child was defiant, the assistant principal called for Williams. She told investigators Williams tried to coax the boy, saying, “You can do a good job. You can do this, man.” But the child walked into another room and refused to move.

According to the boy, “Officer Williams come in, right in my face screaming, ‘This is my place. I make the rules! Let’s go with me.’”

The boy said, “Officer Williams grabbed me on my legs and then throw me onto his shoulder. When I asked him to put me down, he say ‘too late.’”

Williams told investigators that he tried to de-escalate the situation because the child was “physically out of control,” and that he carried the child only after the boy refused to walk. He said the child was thrashing around and he tried first to talk him down, saying, “We’re family. Family doesn’t do each other this way.”

He said he worried for the safety of the assistant principal, so he gave the child the ultimatum of walking or being carried.

On Feb. 17, the boy told his teacher he would not go to class and would cause problems if he did. The teacher called the assistant principal, who summoned Williams.

As Williams took the boy down a hallway, the child “appeared to be pulling at the front of his collar in an apparent attempt to relieve the pressure off of his neck,” according to the investigation.

“He’s choking me with my own shirt,” the child told police investigators.

The child said Williams threatened him with, “I’m going to call my [police] friends on you.” He said Williams threatened to handcuff him.

As police investigated, they found Williams’ encounters with the boy were caught on surveillance footage.

Carrying the boy “is outside of the training guidelines of the Margate Police Department,” according to investigators. “There has never been a course of instruction that included carrying a noncompliant subject over the officer’s shoulder.”

Also, school resource officers — police officers assigned to the schools to maintain security — are prohibited “from intervening in disciplinary matters of the school system” and he had no authority to get involved in the first place, according to Margate’s investigation report.

Although the school asked Williams to help, “Officer Williams should have recognized this to be a disciplinary issue and not a safety issue or some other issue requiring law enforcement intervention,” according to Margate police investigators.

In response to the incidents, the Broward School District earlier this year reminded school administrators about the role of school resource officers on their campuses, said Tracy Clark, a district spokeswoman.

The officers “can play an essential role in working with school leaders, teachers, staff and students to enhance safety and security,” Clark said, “but should not be involved in student discipline matters.”

Williams also reportedly ordered the child’s mother to take the boy to the hospital to have him evaluated for what he called “Oppositional Defiance Disorder.” That violated the police department’s rules for forcing a child to seek medical help without parental consent, police said.

Broward prosecutor David Schulson declined to pursue criminal charges, saying in a memo that Williams’ actions were not criminal and the boy was not injured, according to the State Attorney’s Office.

Source: http://www.sun-sentinel.com

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 4753 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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