KEY WEST, Fla. (News Nation) — Newly released video shows Key West Police handcuff and arrest an eight-year-old boy after an alleged altercation with a teacher. Now his mother is taking legal action against the department and school district.
Bianca DiGennaro said police charged her special needs son with a felony after an altercation with a teacher.
In body cam footage, Key West Police officers entered Gerald Adams Elementary on Dec. 14, 2018. DiGennaro’s is seen sitting in a chair outside an office. In the full video below his face is blurred and his name is bleeped out to conceal his identity.
The video below may be disturbing for some viewers:
One of the officers asked the boy, “do you know where you are going?”
“You’re going to jail,” the other officer replied.
“You’re going to jail,” the first officer said. “So you need to stand up and put your hands behind your back.”
The boy began to cry as the officers searched and handcuffed him. The police officers could not get the handcuffs on the boy because his hands were too small. The officers then removed the cuffs and escorted him out of the building while the boy repeatedly asked to see someone. The officers refused.
“I hate that you put me into this position and I have to do this is,” one of the officers said. “The thing about it is you made a mistake. Now it’s time to learn from it and grow from it.”
Nearly two years later, the three minute video is still hard for DiGennaro to watch.
“I’m very heart broken, because this happened to my son,” she said. “Until this day I’m upset because I wasn’t there to protect my son.”
In the original police report, it stated officers arrested the boy for “battery felony” after he attacked his teacher. The weapon indicated in the report was “his hands, fist and feet.” The teacher said he “cursed at her” and said “my mom is going to kick your ***” before he allegedly punched her in chest.”
DiGennaro said her son has special needs and was having a mental illness crisis in that moment.
“Even the psychological evaluation concluded that he was simply having a temper tantrum,” she said. “He’s been diagnosed with severe ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, depression and anxiety for a long time and everybody knew this.”
Nine months after the arrest, DiGennaro said a judge dropped the charge.
But DiGennaro said she wants more and has hired a team of lawyers for a civil suit including attorney Ben Crump.
Police said there was no visual signs of injury but that they had probable cause to make an arrest.
“They feel it is appropriate to arrest, charge, and have him become a convicted felon at 8 years old,” Crump said. “We are here because we want to know who thought this was appropriate and what message this sends to society.”
News Nation tried to contact the teacher involved but received no response. Key West Police and the Monroe County School District would not comment due to the ongoing legal precedings.