The parents of a 10-year-old boy with disabilities have filed a lawsuit against a local sheriff’s office and school board after he was allegedly placed in a chokehold by a deputy.
As NBC News reports, the boy’s parents—Ashley Hutchinson-Harper and Terry Harper—have accused the responding deputies from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana of violating their child’s civil rights.
The child, who has not been named, had been previously diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder, according to the suit. Sheriff’s deputies were called to the school he attended, the Congetta Trippe Janet Elementary School in Marrero, because he had allegedly hit the principal, wandered on and off the school campus, and threw a trash can through a window. This happened on May 13, 2021, according to the suit.
When deputies found the boy, they allegedly failed to de-escalate the situation or talk to staff at the school about his condition. The boy was then “placed in a chokehold” and pulled “to the ground” by Sgt. Steven Trapani. According to the suit, the child was “fearful for his life” as he was dragged on the ground in a chokehold. In a statement by the ACLU of Louisiana, the child is identified as Black.
He was allegedly interrogated in cuffs by officers for an hour. The child was reportedly angry because he had been bullied. He was then taken to a juvenile detention center and charged with two counts of battery of a police officer, one count of resisting arrest, one count of battery of a schoolteacher, and one count of simple criminal damage of less than $1,000. The charges have since been dismissed.
The lawsuit was filed on Monday and is seeking unspecified damages, as well as a ban on excessive use of handcuffing or physically restraining students with disabilities.