Montgomery County police, school officials discuss video showing 5-year-old berated, handcuffed

Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones spoke out for the first time since video of a 5-year-old East Silver Spring Elementary School child being hand cuffed was released.

Chief Jones, along with Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Jack Smith, met with the Montgomery County Council in a virtual session to answer councilmembers’ questions about the disturbing incident.

WATCH: Montgomery County Police release bodycam video of incident involving 5-year-old
However, both the chief and superintendent were limited in what questions they could answer due to ongoing litigation and a Maryland state law that keeps law enforcement personnel investigations private.

That law is the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights and the State legislature is currently looking at repealing it.
The incident happened in January of 2020 when police were called after a 5-year-old wandered away from school. Video shows officers Dionne Holliday and Kevin Christmon pushing the child into a patrol vehicle while he is uncontrollably crying.

A school employee is also present and does nothing to intervene. After arriving back at the school, the child is still visibly shaken. The officers continue yelling at him, telling him to shut up and at one point calling the child a "beast." One officer says, "this is why people need to beat their kids."
Even after the child’s mom shows up, the officers stay. You can hear school staff telling the officers that the child frequently causes trouble in the classroom.

The officers then tell the young boy what would happen to him if he continued to misbehave. One officer places handcuffs on him and tells him what would happen if he was arrested. Once again, no school staff intervened.
Chief Jones told the council that he was upset by what he saw but could not say what the department’s year-long investigation found or why officers Holliday and Christmon are still employed with the department.

UPDATE: Montgomery County cops accused of harassing 5-year-old boy

Council President Tom Hucker asked Chief Jones, "Many residents are asking why they still work for the department. Can you please explain?"

"I cannot comment on that," Chief Jones said."

Hucker added, "Are they in a position where they are still responding to calls?"

"They are," Chief Jones said.
In a passionate exchange councilmember Will Jawando asked Chief Jones, "In your personal opinion should any adult scream at the top of their lungs inches from a child’s face for any reason?"

"No," Chief Jones said."

Jawando also asked, "In your personal opinion is referring to any child, especially a black or brown child, as a beast appropriate?"

"I’m not going to comment on that," Chief Jones said.
Superintendent Smith said he was not made aware of the incident until a full year later when the child’s mother filed a civil lawsuit in January of 2021. 

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 "I personally was angry, frustrated, sad. And I continue to feel that way as I think about a child being threatened or demeaned in any way," Smith said.

Smith said he could not comment on why the school resource officer wasn’t called or why no one from the school stepped in to help the 5 year old. He also added that it is protocol that officers not be involved in any disciplinary action of students. 

The Montgomery County Council was not notified about the incident until January of this year. Many members were frustrated that the police department did not make them aware of what happened sooner. 

Councilmembers are scheduled to meet with the police chief and superintendent in a closed session in the coming weeks.

The mother of the 5-year-old has filed a civil lawsuit against the officers involved, Montgomery County Police Department and Montgomery County Public Schools.