Cops To Kids: You're Never Too Young To Be Handcuffed

from the 'must-be-this-tall-to-ride-this-cruiser'-policy-repealed dept

Time for another reading of that children’s literature standby, If You Give A School A Cop.

If you give a school a cop, you create criminals. Cops are trained to deal with criminals, not elementary school students. They can receive additional training before accepting the position of “School Resource Officer,” but that additional training seldom thwarts ingrained instincts.

But sometimes, something magical happens, and that “kids should be treated like criminals” training carries over to the streets, as it did in Portland, Oregon.

Three girls were involved in a fight that stemmed from a drug deal gone bad someone tattling on someone else for drawing on their desk. This fight took place off-campus at the local Boys & Girls Club.

Feeling that it’s never too early to teach kids that violence is never the answer, a Portland police officer immediately broke up the fight and contacted the parents arrested one of the nine year-old participants six days later.

Here’s what happened shortly after the fight:

Chris Partlow told ‘Snoop‘ to take the other girl out.

Both girls apologized to each other. Staff members found no obvious injuries on any of the girls, they told police.

The 9-year-old was sent home and suspended from the club for one week.

Problem solved, or if not solved, then at least addressed. But then a parent got involved and claimed that this girl had shoved her kid up against the wall and injured her. Despite there being no physical evidence to back up this claim, the police responded with all the alacrity missing from the scene six days earlier.

They cuffed her, brought her to the station, took her mugshot and fingerprints, and justified it all because this nine year-old appeared to be nervous and her story was “inconsistent.” On one hand, it could be that she was trying to cover up her ruthless beating of another student participation in a second-grade fight, the sort of thing every adult tells kids not to get into. Or, she may have been completely truthful, but was unable to maintain an icy, but honest exterior. Why? Radley Balko answers this unasked question over and over and over again with the same answer:


Now, with the backlash hitting, the DA has dropped charges and the parents are filing a complaint. The police, however, have performed a quick investigation and found the participating officers did nothing wrong.

A Kansas City “resource officer” apparently viewed this story as a challenge, rather than a cautionary anecdote. (via Reason)

A Kansas City second grader said his school treated him like a criminal Wednesday by placing him in handcuffs simply because he was misbehaving.

“Some of the kids were messing with me,” second grader Kalyb Primm Wiley said of what started the incident.

He said after his classmates teased and taunted him, he started screaming but never got physical with other students or teachers. And when the teacher couldn’t calm him down, he said a school security officer took him to the principal’s office like a criminal.

“We were halfway down the hall, he put handcuffs on and twisted my wrists a little,” Kalyb said.

When his father showed up at the school’s front office, Kalyb was still in handcuffs.

Kalyb is seven. Do they even make handcuffs that can secure a seven year-old’s wrists? And if they do, why?

Speculation on Twitter suggests they might be custom made.

All joking aside… what the hell, KCPD? This behavior used to be addressed by teachers, administrators and parents — not by overgrown bullies wearing uniforms and treating all misbehavior as something requiring tools of restraint normally only applied to criminals.

A district spokesperson sided with authority (as usual) and claimed nothing here violated school policy. Handcuffs make us safer, said the spokesperson in not exactly those words, even if our policies and resource officers make us collectively stupider and more brutal.

These may be outlying events but they’re far from rare.

– A Delaware State Trooper felt he needed to “investigate” the theft of $1, possibly involving a third-grader and a fifth-grader. He interrogated both, turning the older kid against the younger one until obtaining a confession.

– Seven students were arrested for a water balloon fight.

A five year-old with ADHD had his hands and feet zip tied by a school resource officer when he wouldn’t calm down. The child was charged with “battery of an officer.”

If they’re not making child-sized handcuffs yet, then it only proves that those involved in the law enforcement accessory field are sleeping on a growing market. Administrators who hand the reins of enforcement over to men and women used to dealing with hardened criminals and actual danger are going to find that it’s incredibly hard for these “resource officers” to dial back their reactions. But as long as “policy” is followed, who cares what happens to kids who misbehave?

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Comments on “Cops To Kids: You're Never Too Young To Be Handcuffed”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Repeat after me:

“That is not a valid excuse.”

A district spokesperson sided with authority (as usual) and claimed nothing here violated school policy.

If rent-a-cops and/or children dressed up in uniforms with badges(because if that’s the sort of reaction that any ‘threat to their authority’ causes, it’s pretty obvious they never actually grew up) can treat kids that young, in that fashion, and not ‘violate school policy’, it doesn’t mean that nothing wrong happened, it means the policy is completely screwed up.

If a teacher, or other member of staff wouldn’t dare do something for fear of being sued into oblivion and/or fired(and ‘well I slapped some cuffs on little Timmy because he wouldn’t calm down’ would certainly fall into that category), then the resident ‘we don’t feel like doing our jobs, so we hired a few cops to do it for us’-badge wearers shouldn’t get a pass either, ‘policies’ or not.

Angel (profile) says:

Reading things like this makes me glad my children are all older, because if they weren’t they would not be attending public schools. This type of behavior from our schools & police is completely unacceptable and I can’t believe it’s allowed to continue.

I suppose it’s just another step in assimilating our society into conformity. I’ve long worried that schools are teaching children to conform rather to then to love learning.

HT says:

Minimum Age Laws

I dunno about you guys over in the good ol’ US of A, but here in Australia we have minimum age laws. Basically, if you’re under 10 years old you don’t have the capacity to know you have willfully committed a crime. I’d argue it should be a bit higher, but it’s reasonable enough.

This means that kids could murder someone and they would not be criminally prosecuted: all because they have no idea what they’re doing. I don’t usually say this, but in this instance I’d say that our laws are better than yours.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Minimum Age Laws

Actually doli incapax is set at under 10… whereas there is a rebuttable presumption for anyone under 14 which basically means the prosecutor (in a children’s court since no minor can be charged as an adult in Australia) has to prove that the minor in question knew right from wrong. This is basically a very hard thing to prove until the child is at least 12 so most prosecutors don’t even bother.

Once the child reaches 14 the presumption is that they are then absolutely responsible, though they are still classified as a child under all state/federal laws and then a ‘young person’ at age 16. Only at that magical age of 18 do they then find out that responsibility becomes of huge importance in civil/criminal matters.

Children cannot even be arrested (let alone cuffed) if they are known to be under 10 either, though they can be reasonably restrained from hurting themselves or others.Not a situation that any LEO likes being placed in especially when Child Community Services (state equivalent) MUST be informed/called ASAP.

Interestingly the defense of infancy laws (doli incapax) which show the age of criminal responsibility are all over the place in the USA depending on what state you live in. Some are as low as 6 (WTF!!!!!) whereas most are 7. Only in Federal crimes does the USA meet any international standard setting the minimum at 11 yrs old.

Though what do you expect from a country that is only one of two in the worlds that has not ratified let alone signed the UN Rights of the Child treaty. Somalia is the other country.. nuff said

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re:

+LOL for you but bear with me for a minute.

Actually it’s exactly more of the same. With the “Think of the children!” mantra some moron decided that it was a good thing to make kids open to criminal charges and another even worse moron (possibly the same) decided it’s a good thing to put full-fledged police officers to deal with children mischiefs. Of course nothing could go wrong.

But hey, think of the children!

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: When the law over reacts...

That’s the optimistic view.

The pessimistic view is that Draconian enforcement from an early age will condition them to obeying authority without protest, and to thinking of that as the “normal” situation – “the way things should be”.

An analogy to children of abusive parents might not be inappropriate. It’s not always anything remotely like easy to talk such children into rebelling against their parents…

David says:

Re: When the law over reacts...

Because that worked so well with the offspring from the Second Reich…

Apart from a few dozen people executed after the Nuremberg trials, there were only innocent victims everywhere.

It will be the same with the Fourth Reich that the U.S.A. is currently building internally and externally.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Please explain to me the reasoning behind handcuffing a nine year-old. Are you seriously trying to defend some dipshit, fucktarded, overgrown, meat-headed, shit sack because he somehow thought a NINE YEAR-OLD was a threat?

I think you need to dial back your “pro-cop even in the face of wanton stupidity” rant and start using something that is missing from both the officer and his handlers: common sense.

For crying out loud, these are KIDS you asshole!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

If it’s policy to restrain a suspsect, and yes in this case the kid qualified as a suspect, then why is it wrong to place cuffs on her? So the main argument is she’s 9. OMG!!!!!!!! NINE&#&&!*. So the next 9 year old suspect that a cop comes across who may have killed or really hurt someone or may try to run, let’s not cuff them either right?

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

No evidence of injuries, the cops show up six days after the event… they must have been terrified, poor things. Now if a crazed meth head (of any age) was attacking people at the time and the cops restrained him (or her) to protect themselves and the community, fair enough. But that’s not what happened.

Look up the word “proportionate” in the dictionary of your choice and get back to us.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

fuck you, kop…
LOWEST number of kops killed by firearms since 1887…
that’s a fact… do you have any ?
thought not…

now, tell me ALL THE INCIDENTS of kops being shot by kids in their elementary schools in ALL OF HUMAN HIS STORY, asshole…
dog damn i hates me authoritarian pricks like you…

heh, while you’re at it, tell me how many dirty kops klean kops have shot in the last, i don’t know, FOREVER…
what’s that ?
none ?
huh, ain’t that weird: i mean, the thin blue line of liars, hypocrites and coopers shoot dogs, kids and innocent bystanders ALL THE TIME, yet not one dirty kop takes a slug…
what are the odds…

(except i bet the very few REAL, CLEAN boy scout kops get sent out -a la serpico- to be set up to be shot, huh, pig boy ? )

art guerrilla at windstream dot net

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I expect someone who has been empowered to arrest others to utilize common sense. If that’s too much to ask (or it’s “too hard”) then they should find another line of fucking work!

I’m so sick of you “zero tolerance” idiots who can’t seem to make any kind of decision based on critical thinking. Yes, we must apply handcuffs to ALL NINE YEAR OLD SUSPECTS because OMG, the history around the number of police officers killed in the line of duty by 9 year-olds supports it!

The fight was over, jackass! And again, if the big, bad, retarded cop thinks a 9-year old in this situation is a threat, then he’s a fucking moron who has no business being around kids at all.

Mike (not that Mike, the other Mike) says:

Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on May 13th, 2014 @ 6:27am

There are probation programs that expunge records. There are sealed records if they have juveniles. There are deals that allow charges to be dropped after X amount of time. Now sure, charges in this case are stupid. But the criminal record does not have to follow a kid around forever unless it’s super serious.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: Re:

That AC I challenged to look up the word “proportionate” is the kind of person cheering this on. As long as people see this as a solution, we’ll be the only ones objecting to it.

It can’t be much fun living in a state of terror that somewhere there’s a nine-year-old who hasn’t been cuffed yet for back-talking to a teacher.

David says:

Abuse of law officers

There is no point in having police officers involved in school policing.

If every teacher instead were equipped with a gun, they could just shoot undisciplined pupils dead in self-defense and no harm done.

I am sure that this solution will immediately be embraced as the appropriate and measured way to arrive at peaceful classrooms by all American education institutions it is presented to.

In completely unrelated news, my personal no-tolerance policy does not allow me to visit nations where the rules governing public life are written up by psychopathic lunatics, so I’m not likely to be able to personally oversee the success of my proposal.

Eric says:

My 2 year old bit me...

My 2 year old bit me yesterday, and probably a few days before that. When he gets tired he tends to act out. I think next time rather than getting a timeout i’ll be calling the local PD! Maybe they will even keep him over night and my wife and I can get a free night out without the hassle of paying a babysitter…these cops are on to something!

Anonymous Coward says:

Kalyb is seven. Do they even make handcuffs that can secure a seven year-old’s wrists? And if they do, why?

When I was about that age, a cop came to my school, but it was just part of a class, and he seemed like a pretty normal, laid-back guy. He actually did put me in handcuffs, but it was just to demonstrate how handcuffs worked, and he took them off immediately afterward.

Anyway, I guess standard-issue handcuffs work well enough for it? Either that or kid-sized handcuffs are old news.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: This story makes no sense and is obviously completely fabricated...

What recourse would you have that you don’t have with a public school? I’ve sent my kids to both public and private schools, and in my experience, there’s not much of a difference between them in terms of accountability (or quality of education, for that matter.)

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: This story makes no sense and is obviously completely fabricated...

You can remove your child from public schools as well, and there is very little red tape to go through when complaining (in my part of the country, anyway). Plus, if you’re really into changing the way the schools work, it’s not too difficult to get on the school board where you can actively participate in policy-making. You can’t do that with private schools.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: This story makes no sense and is obviously completely fabricated...

9 year olds are in 4th grade… not second…

I don’t know what grade the kid was in, but a 9 year old could easily be in 2nd grade, especially so late in the school year (this happened in May of last year.) Hold them back once, have the birthday during the year, and there you are. Even without being held back, 3rd would be more likely than 4th this time of year.

zip says:

getting "tough on crime"

Two decades ago, there was a big push to “get tough” on juvenile crime, in response to the media frenzy about how under-18-y.o.’s were committing serious crimes and getting off very lightly under the juvenile justice laws on the books – laws which were designed more to rehabilitate and release child offenders than to protect society from potential 2nd offenses. All the weekly TV news “magazines” such as ‘Dateline’ and ’60 Minutes’ and others (there was a glut of them back then) were pounding on this theme; that because children knew they could get away with it, they were committing more numerous and more serious crimes — and something HAD to be done about that.

When George Bush ran for governor of Texas 20 years ago, he campaigned on a tough “law and order” platform, and one of his campaign promises (not fulfilled) was that if elected, he would lower the death penalty to the age of 14.

Juvenile crime is indeed lower now than it was 20 years ago, perhaps in part because there is no longer much of an opportunity to commit 2nd offenses. But if fights between 9 year olds are now considered crime, and treated as such, there will no doubt be pressure to lower those police statistics, which usually means tougher penalties.

Dan says:

Arrested at 7

I was arrested at 7 with handcuffs and all they even tried to measure me but I didn’t reach the measurement board, they laughed the entire time. First time in my life I had experienced bullying. I experienced the rest of my public school life allowing myself to be made fun of because of this experience. I lived in a rural area (Small Town) with about 30 students in my grade at the time. 150 when I graduated high school from several school districts in a 20 mile radius. I was arrested because my older brother was babysitting and stealing. I don’t blame him at all, he was only in middle school and he never did or has done anything like this before or now. It was a horrible and difficult experience as a 7 year old and could have went very different if the pigs had treated a 7 year old right!

Anonymous Coward says:

Arrests Of Children

In my opinion, kid’s crimes should be judged on what has happened, were they a victim too, if they’ve have/had a criminal record and how serious the offence is. I understand and the law kind of have this rule in place but a nine-year-old who has murdered somebody should be given a sentence/effective punishment to calm down the rebellious side of the person. If maybe they’ve stolen something from a shop; a substantial amount of discipline so the message is clear
I read through all these comments on a daily basis and see some views which are rude and unfair. I would be phenomenally grateful if we could restrain ourselves to stop swearing etc.

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