‘I hope your mama let me beat you’: MD parents get $275K over cops’ treatment of truant kindergartener

Two Montgomery County Maryland police officers were suspended without pay and the parents were awarded $275,000 after the cops handcuffed, screeched at, and threatened a five-year-old kindergarten boy who went truant from East Silver Spring Elementary School.

The shocking encounter took place in January 2020 and went viral last March, when disturbing bodycam footage of the terrified child circulated on social media.

In the video, Officers Dionne Holliday and Kevin Christmon can be seen physically and emotionally abusing the child, who ran out of his kindergarten class after throwing a clipboard at his teacher and a fellow student.

Christmon approached him about a block from the school, where the child was hiding behind a parked car.

At first, the officer greeted the child with a friendly, “Come here, buddy,” but when the kindergartner failed to respond, Christmon snapped at him.

“Look at me!” he ordered. “Why are you out of school?”

Christmon then grabbed the now screaming kid by the arm and dragged him toward another uniformed officer and two waiting patrol cars.

The child was then placed in the patrol car after an assistant principal arrived on scene and managed to calm him down.

From there, the video gets increasingly difficult to watch.

During the 51-minute encounter, Officer Holliday threatened the boy with a beating and called him “a shepherd for the devil.”

They mocked the child’s frightened screams, slapped handcuffs on him, compared him to a “little beast,” and intimidated him by yelling right in his face.

“I hope your mama let me beat you,” Holliday sneers. “I swear to you, I’m gonna wear it out.”

The universally condemned incident sparked a lengthy internal affairs investigation, which ended in the officers’ suspension, the Washington Post reports.

Over the course of the probe into the officers’ conduct, Christmon defended holding the child down in a chair for 80 seconds.

“I really do think that my actions were appropriate at the time, because of the fact the child was acting noncompliant,” Christmon said.

Holliday admitted to calling the child “a shepherd for the devil” and claimed the damning insult accurately described the boy’s behavior.


(Video: YouTube)

In court, attorneys for the officers argued, “This child had a lot of problems before this event,” in an attempt to downplay the trauma the boy may have suffered as a result of the cops’ actions.

According to James Papirmeister and Matthew Bennett, attorneys for the boy and his mother, Shanta Grant, the officers went “way past the line of emotional child abuse.”

“I’ve been doing police misconduct cases for 25 years… and every case is different, but I don’t recall ever having a case with a 5-year-old who was treated like this,” Bennett said, according to the Daily Mail.

According to the boy’s mom, who can be seen on the video undressing her son to show he “isn’t being physically abused” said her son awoke crying at 3 a.m. the night after the incident, convinced he was going to be shot by the officers.

“I’m not losing my child to the system and I’m not going to prison,” Grant told the officers in the video.

The lawsuit would have gone to trial on January 23, but instead was settled out of court.

Holliday received a four-week suspension for her part in the encounter, while Christmon was suspended for nearly two weeks.

The school system called the video “extremely difficult to watch” and stated “there is no excuse” for the officers’ actions.

“There is no excuse for adults to ever speak to or threaten a child in this way,” the school system said. “As parents and grandparents, we know that when families send their children to school, they expect that the staff will care for them, keep them safe and use appropriate intervention processes when needed.”

“We all saw a little boy be mocked, degraded, put in the seat of a police car, screamed at from the top of an adult police officer´s lungs, inches from his face. This is violence,” said Montgomery County Council member Will Jawando, who added that the video “made me sick.”

The $275,000 paid to the parents will be placed into a trust fund for when the boy turns 18.

Said Papirmeister of the mother, “Our client is glad to put this litigation behind her, and the police and school have finally been held accountable.”

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