'He showed no compassion': Video shows cop restraining, handcuffing 10-year-old child with special needs
The mother said that after the second incident, she and her husband noticed marks and bruises on Thomas and suspected that the officer had used excessive force.
A ten-year-old boy with special needs was restrained and handcuffed by a police officer at a North Texas school, and his parents are now demanding answers for the "abuse" inflicted on their child, reports state.
The boy's mother, Eily Brown, while talking to Dallas–Fort Worth’s KTVT News said: "It’s disgusting that this officer is put there to protect and serve our children, and he abused a disabled, little boy. He showed no compassion."
The mother of the child, who has autism, is now urging state and federal authorities to launch an investigation into the incident.
Brown said that her son, Thomas, was restrained by a Denton Police Department school resource officer on two separate occasions this year. The first incident occurred on April 23 and the other on April 30, reports state.
The mother said that after the second incident, she and her husband noticed marks and bruises on Thomas and suspected that the officer had used excessive force on him in an attempt to restrain him. Brown then requested video from the officer's body camera to figure out what had actually unfolded in her absence at his school.
The video of the second incident was released by authorities on Tuesday this week, where Thomas is initially seen hiding in a cubby hole. The officer later assists a teacher by pulling up the boy and carrying him into an empty room. The officer was identified as Eric Coulston.
Coulston can be heard asking the child: "Do you want the handcuffs? Or not?" while the child screams repeatedly and asks him to "Get off."
The child can also be seen struggling to escape from the officer's hold as the cop pins him facedown to the ground by his neck. The officer is then seeing handcuffing the boy's arms behind his back in the clip.
"We’re back to where we were the other day," Coulston says. "Want to kick some more?" Coulston removes the cuffs after a while when Thomas appears to have calmed down. However, he restrains the child again when he starts tearing tissues into small pieces and throwing them at a teacher.
The ordeal of the child reportedly goes on for nearly two hours, according to the body cam footage released by the authorities.
Brown, while talking to ABC affiliate WFAA, said: "It’s abuse, the torture, and the hell that he was put through."
The Denton Independent School District’s director of communications, Mario Zavala, reportedly said that the district has protocols in place in some circumstances to ensure the safety of the students.
“In this instance, the school resource officer (SRO) made the determination, after all, other efforts to de-escalate the situation proved ineffective," Zavala said, adding that Thomas was "a detriment to his own safety and that of the other students and staff," according to HuffPost.
The boy's mother, however, said that he was acting out during the incident because he was scared: "He’s got a lot of anxiety because the very people that I told him to trust, he can’t."
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is strictly against the use of restraint and seclusion in schools and says that the practice is "very dangerous" and has "injured or killed kids in far too many cases... causing lasting trauma."
The Denton Police Department Office of Professional Standards, however, has found no violations in the case and released a statement, saying: "The decision to use restraints was made only when the child posed a serious threat to himself or others. Once the child was calm, the restraints were removed."