DC police will no longer handcuff children under the age of 12 per new policy, officials announce

Officers with DC police will no longer handcuff children under the age of 12 following the rollout of a new policy after the department came under intense scrutiny following several incidents in which children have been handcuffed.

The Metropolitan Police Department announced the new policy, known as Interacting with Juveniles, on Tuesday.

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The move comes after multiple incidents of children being handcuffed by DC police officers went viral, sparking outrage on social media and in the community.

Videos obtained by FOX 5 showed a 9-year-old being handcuffed in April and a 10-year-old being handcuffed in March.

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Following the incident in April, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and city lawmakers pledged to make a change and Racine said his office would review best practices for police dealing with children.

The following is a list of new guidelines, according to a press release issued by the police department:

- Prohibiting the handcuffing of juveniles aged 12 and under unless the juvenile presents a danger to themselves or others and giving officers discretion in handcuffing juveniles aged 13 to 17 based on the severity of the offense and circumstances of the interaction.

- Limiting the arrests of juveniles on scene whenever possible and encouraging officers to apply for a custody order (arrest warrant) when there are no immediate public safety concerns. This policy has already been in place since August 2019 for all school-related incidents.

- Expanding eligibility for juvenile diversion in lieu of arrest by removing criteria that disqualified certain Metro and school-related incidents.

- Consolidating guidance on juvenile policy and procedures into a comprehensive, updated general order. 

- Availability of a new Office of the Attorney General Emergency Hotline number available to MPD officers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to consult with an OAG Juvenile Section Supervisor about field and school arrests, custody orders and warrants.


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