Mother Sues Maryland County and Cops Who Handcuffed Black 5-year-old and Repeatedly Encouraged Her to 'Beat Him'

Illustration for article titled Mother Sues Maryland County and Cops Who Handcuffed Black 5-year-old and Repeatedly Encouraged Her to 'Beat Him'
Screenshot: CBS Baltimore

Another day, another instance of police officers displaying their inability to view Black children as children. The fact that the cops in this instance appear to be Black changes nothing about it being a display of white supremacy at work.


In January of last year, a five-year-old Black child wandered away from his school in Maryland. Police officers responded to this and to a five-year-old’s acting out under distress by handcuffing him and repeatedly urging his mother to “beat him.”

CBS News reports that on Friday, the Montgomery County Police Department released police body-cam footage that shows an officer putting the child in the back of a patrol car as he cries—because what else is a 5-year-old who likely thinks he’s being arrested going to do?

From CBS:

After the officers returned the boy to the school, the video shows, both stayed at the school and spoke with school employees. At one point, an officer can be heard calling the boy “a little beast.”

When the boy’s mother arrives at school, the footage shows both officers encouraging her to beat her son.

“We want you to beat him,” an officer says. When his mother replies that she can’t go to prison, the officer responds, “You don’t go to prison for beating your child.”

The video also shows officers handcuffing the child in front of his mother.

In the footage, an officer asks the boy, “You know what these are for? These are for people who don’t know how to listen and don’t know how to act.”

The boy was released about a minute after the officer handcuffed him, but throughout the encounter, the police encourage the mother to physically discipline her child.

“All I can tell you is beat that a**,” the officer says. “That’s all I can tell you.”

Later, the officer says, “You can beat your child in Montgomery County, Maryland. In front of him and everybody else you can beat him.” The officer adds, “And please don’t leave no cuts or crazy cigarette burns, nothing like that. We’re good, alright? Meeting adjourned.”

This. Child. Is. Five.

Unfortunately, a lot of Black people adhere to the “spare the rod, spoil the child” nonsense that they learned in the same country that used similar (albeit far more cruel and extreme) tactics to keep the negroes in line for centuries. Also, I’m going to be real: A lot of Black cops are blue first and Black second, and that mentality has them viewing Black children through the same lens of whiteness America has always viewed Black youth through.


This whole thing is eerily similar to the incident between Rochester, New York, police officers and the 9-year-old Black girl they handcuffed and pepper-sprayed after speaking to her like she was a full-grown criminal—even going so far has to tell her, “you’re acting like a child”—all because her extreme distress and panic had her refusing to get into the back of a police car.


According to CBS, the boy’s mother is now suing Montgomery County, the two police officers involved in the incident and the county’s board of education over the emotional trauma she said her son has suffered.

“There is a certain way to treat a 5-year old boy,” James Papirmeister, the family’s attorney, told CBS. “Needing to beat him, like I said, came up at least 15, perhaps 20 times.”


As for whether or not the officers involved will face any disciplinary action, the Montgomery County Police Department said that an investigation into the incident has concluded, but the department has not released its findings. What we know is that the department said both cops are “still sworn officers”—which, unfortunately, probably tells us all we need to know.

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons



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