A video of an 8-year-old boy who was handcuffed at his elementary school is currently going viral after the
footage was shared on social media.
The boy’s mother, 48-year-old Bianca Digennaro, has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the teachers, the school district, and police officers involved, after her son with special needs was arrested and locked in a cell.
The shocking video of the arrest sparked outrage after it was shared by Benjamin Crump, the lawyer representing the families of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery.
Digennaro is now suing the school district, her son’s teacher, Ashley Henriquez, the school principal Fran Herin, assistant principal Kyle Sheer, and the three police officers, Fred Sims, Kenneth Waite, and Michael Malgrat.
“My son has a disability and the authorities tried to make him a criminal,” the mother said.
“I’m here for my son, because I refuse to let them make him a convicted felon at the age of 8, just because he was having a mental breakdown.”
Digennaro said the teachers and the school staff were completely aware of her son’s special needs.
“Everybody knew this,” she said at a press conference.
The video of the December 2018 incident shows two cops inside Gerald Adams Elementary in Florida.
According to the arrest report, the young boy had punched his teacher in the chest after being asked several times to sit down properly in the cafeteria.
Sources revealed to The Miami Herald that the boy’s father, who is not married to Digennaro, asked the officers to scare the boy to improve his behavior.
“You’re going to jail. So you need to stand up and put your hands behind your back,” one officer said.
Crump said that he didn’t know the boy’s father asked the cops to do it but it was irrelevant either way as “police officers have no authority to arrest based on the instructions of lay persons.”
He added: “A mental health crisis at a school, and they feel it is appropriate to arrest, charge and have him become a convicted felon at eight years old.”
Digennaro said her son’s DNA, fingerprints and mugshot were taken and his mouth swabbed. The young boy was also locked in a cell for several minutes.
“I can tell and I can feel how scared my son was,” she said of the video.
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