Montgomery County Setters trial involving a woman whose 5-year-old was handcuffed and verbally abused by two officers after leaving school grounds

A Maryland county has announced a six-figure settlement with a black woman who was suing the community after two police department officers violated her son’s civil rights.

On Friday, August 26, the Montgomery County Attorney’s Office announced that it had settled a lawsuit filed by Shanta Grant against the county board of education and the two police officers for $275,000, as evidenced by the release and settlement claim in the case emerges.

According to DCist.com, 20 counts were charged, including assault, assault, wrongful arrest, wrongful imprisonment and negligence.

Court documents state that on Jan. 14, 2020, police officers Dionne Holiday and Kevin Christmon located two-tenths of a mile from East Silver Spring Elementary School, a 5-year-old black boy who was reported missing from the school.

In the time between the youth’s finding and his return to school, according to the lawsuit filed by the child’s mother, her son was verbally abused, threatened and handcuffed by police. Meanwhile, the boy can be heard crying and coughing, even telling officers “I don’t want to go” as they grabbed his small wrist and pulled him toward their vehicle.

The abusive comments made towards the little boy were captured on officers’ body cams released March 26, 2021 and disclosed in court filings.

As he began handcuffing the boy, Christmon said, “This is for people who don’t want to listen and don’t know how to act. If someone tells you to sit and shut up, any adult, you better sit and shut up.”

While the tied up boy cried in the back of the squad car, Christmon was recorded telling him to “cut that out”.

Holiday can be heard teasing the crying boy: “Did your mama hit you? She’s going to beat you up today.”

One of the officers went on to say, “That’s why people have to hit their kids” and “I hope your mom let me hit you.”

The ordeal lasted over 51 minutes. A little over a year later, the boy’s mother filed a lawsuit against the school district for failing to properly monitor her son and officers for her abuse of the boy.

The lawsuit states that since the beginning of their engagement, officers have been mean to Grant’s child, even barking in his face, “with the apparent purpose of terrorizing an already traumatized and upset child.”

“You can obviously see the distress in the video,” said one of the family’s attorneys, James Papirmeister gasping at being so catatonic traumatized.”

When the district council saw the video, they released a statement expressing their dismay at the school’s negligence and the behavior of the police.

“We are outraged by the behavior we have observed. The entire Council sends its sincerest apologies to the Grant family,” the joint statement said. “This incident is absolutely unacceptable: no child, let alone a five-year-old child, should ever be treated like this by the people tasked with keeping our communities safe.”

It continued, “This incident also reflects the need for increased police training on how to deal with young children and de-escalating situations… We need to do better for our children, our schools and our community.”

The council called what officers did to the boy “child abuse” and “unequivocally” condemned it.

Payments will be made to plaintiff in the form of two checks from the county’s $87 million self-insurance fund. The city is paying $220,000 on behalf of two officers, Holiday and Christmon, and has elected to pay $55,000 on behalf of the Board of Education.

According to the terms of the agreement, the payment covers any claims, including “financial losses due to medical expenses, therapy expenses, counseling expenses, future education expenses, or psychological/psychiatric expenses” incurred by the child whose name was redacted from the document.

Grant and her child may re-file the lawsuit or another based on the incident.

Despite the perimeters, the lawyer and family are happy with the outcome and say the money will go towards the boy’s education.

Matthew Bennett, the family’s other attorney, said: “This is life-changing money. It goes into an escrow account and earns interest. When the youngster is ready to go to college, he’ll have plenty of change to pay for college.”

In a statement, County Executive Marc Elrich said: “We are pleased to see that the parties involved in this case have reached an agreement; I had been pushing for this for quite some time.”

He continued, “This incident has been thoroughly reviewed, including as part of the external review conducted by Effective Law Enforcement for All (ELE4A), and has resulted in changes to officer training, incident reporting processes and clarification guided how officers should interact with students in our schools”.

https://atlantablackstar.com/2022/08/30/montgomery-county-settles-child-abuse-and-civil-rights-violation-lawsuit-with-woman-whose-5-year-old-was-handcuffed-and-berated-by-two-officers-after-he-wondered-off-school-grounds/ Montgomery County Setters trial involving a woman whose 5-year-old was handcuffed and verbally abused by two officers after leaving school grounds

James Brien

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