A video of a Kentucky officer restraining an 8-year-old boy in handcuffs for over 15 minutes is the focus of a lawsuit enacted by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Despite the visual evidence, the sheriff’s office in Kenton County in the state is openly defending the officer’s forceful actions.
The Guardian reports that Sheriff Charles Korzenberg of the town of Covington has stepped forward to defend the officer, who placed the cuffs around the boy’s arms in an awkward and apparently painful position. The boy, known only as “SR,” is screaming in pain in the short video clip. The Guardian obtained a statement from Sheriff Korzenberg on Tuesday.
In a statement issued to the Guardian on Tuesday, Korzenborn responded to a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union by claiming that the police officer, Kevin Sumner, had done absolutely nothing wrong. The sheriff said that his deputy had done “what he is sworn to do and in conformity with all constitutional and law enforcement standards”.
Korzenborn added: “I steadfastly stand behind deputy Sumner who responded to the school’s request for help. Deputy Sumner is a highly respected and skilled law enforcement deputy, and is an asset to the community and those he serves.”
In the lawsuit, joined by the Children’s Law Center, the ACLU accuses the sheriff’s department and Sumner of violating both federal and state laws that prohibit the forceful restraint of children unless the pupil is presenting an imminent and real threat to their own or someone else’s safety. The suit alleges that by being shackled for so long the child suffered pain and trauma that exacerbated his diagnosed conditions of ADHD and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The video was shot last November by a member of the school where the boy was attending. Officer Sumber can be seen applying the handcuffs to the boy’s arms as his wrists were too small otherwise. Officer Sumner can be heard threatening the boy with “consequences” for not following orders.
In the ACLU suit, it appears Officer Sumner has a history of using handcuffs to restrain students in the elementary school district in Covington he covers on his beat.