MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Friday, the Montgomery County Police Department released a little more than 50 minutes of body-cam footage of an incident involving a 5-year-old East Silver Spring Elementary school student from January 2020 where the conduct of the officers has been called into question.
MCPD said they received a call for service at the elementary school on Jan. 14 in regards to a 5-year-old student who had left the school grounds and "did not wish to return."
Two MCPD officers responded to the call for service.
In the video, officers are seen and heard yelling at the student, grabbing the student by the arm, handcuffing him while demanding that the student stop crying and screaming in the student's face.
Just a little past the 13 minute mark, the male officer is heard saying that they received a call for a dispute involving a 5-year-old and that he had walked out of the school not wanting to come back even after a staff member followed him to try and get him back in.
Then fast forward to the 30 minute mark and the officers are heard discussing with the mother, what the child allegedly did at the school including hitting teachers and other students, breaking a $1,000 computer, throwing an eraser before he walked off property.
"I believe it because I deal with these people," the mother, Shanta Grant, is heard talking.
"Can I ask you, what’s the disconnect?" Officer Kevin Christmon is heard in a follow up question.
Grant filed a civil lawsuit shortly after the incident back in January 2020, accusing officers of assault, false arrest and emotional distress.
In a statement following the release of the footage on Friday, Attorneys Matthew E. Bennett & James N. Papirmeister representing Ms. Grant said:
"Our client, Shanta Grant, brought this lawsuit on behalf of her then five-year old son in an effort to get justice and fair compensation for the trauma he endured. She also hopes that the incident will lead to changes in policy and training, both with the school and the police. She is looking forward to her day in court."
MCPD received a complaint shortly after rhe 2020 incident regarding the officers' conduct when handling the call. An investigation was initiated with MCPD Internal Affairs Divison, as MCPD says is consistent with their policy.
The department says a thorough investigation was conducted, and it has since concluded that the findings are "confidential under Maryland law."
Officers Christmon and Dionne Holliday remain employed by MCPD.
"I don’t know anything short of firing of these two officers that is not justice," said county councilman, Will Jawando.
"I mean everyone has a bad day. I have made mistakes but to watch this for almost an hour at this level of abuse and suggesting that the mother break the law and ask that ‘I hope I can beat you, you nasty little thing", horrible things were said there’s no excuse for that."
Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education President, Brenda Wolff and Superintendent, Jack Smith released a joint statement, part of which read:
"...Our heart aches for this student. There is no excuse for adults to ever speak to or threaten a child in this way. 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.
While we are unable to provide further comment on this incident due to pending litigation, we want to assure the MCPS community that we are unwavering in our commitment to ensure that all MCPS schools are safe places where students can learn, thrive and reach their highest potential."