Settlement reached over police encounter with 5-year-old who left elementary school in Silver Spring

A Montgomery County parent has settled a lawsuit over an incident involving a 5-year-old East Silver Spring Elementary school student from January 2020.

According to the Office of the County Attorney for Montgomery County, the settlement will pay a total of $275,000 to Shanta Grant, the mother of the child involved in the incident.

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The settlement money will be paid out from county’s Self-Insurance Fund. Of the $275,000, $220,000 is being paid on behalf of the officers involved in the incident, Officers Dionne Holiday and Kevin Christmon, while the other $55,000 is being paid on behalf of the Board of Education. 

The incident happened on January 14, 2020 after two Montgomery County Police Department officers responded to a call for service at the elementary school where the 5-year-old student was reported to have left the school grounds and "did not wish to return." 

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The civil lawsuit accused the officers of assault, false arrest and emotional distress.

Video of the incident from the officer's body cameras, which was later released, showed the officers 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.

In response to the settlement, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich released the following statement:

"We are pleased to see that the parties involved in this case reached a settlement; I had been pushing for this for quite some time. This incident has been thoroughly reviewed, including as part of the external audit conducted by Effective Law Enforcement for All (ELE4A), and has led to changes in officer training, incident reporting processes, and clarification of how officers should interact with students in our schools."

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As part of the settlement, Grant can no longer file another lawsuit related to the incident.