Moreno Valley

Complaint Filed Against School District After Deputy Handcuffs Boy With Special Needs

A boy was cuffed and pinned to the floor in an incident recorded on a deputy's body camera.

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Two disability rights groups have filed a formal complaint against a Moreno Valley school district where an 11-year-old boy with special needs was pinned to the ground and handcuffed, in an incident caught on a deputy's body camera.

The incident happened October 2019 when a Riverside County sheriff's deputy school resource officer approached the boy and put her hand his back.

The two struggled and a campus security officer stepped in.

The child's parents say he had been accused of throwing a rock a day earlier and that he suffers from disabilities including or opposition defiant disorder.

"If you approach him aggressively then he reacts in that manner," said the boy's father.

The boy's father says roughly 90 seconds after entering the special education classroom the deputy and security officer tackled his son.

The boy screamed, saying he is in pain.

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"They threw him on the floor, put their knees in his back and handcuffed him when all they could have did was a simple phone call to one of the parents," said his mother.

The boy's parents claim no one from the school called them. They said it was the fourth time in about five months that the child had been handcuffed by officers. Two disability rights groups have filed a formal complaint against the Moreno Valley Unified School District.

"They sent police to respond when all evidence shows that students with disabilities need to be met with trained counselors, trained teachers," said Lindsay Appell, from Disability Rights California.

The boy's parents say they are planning to file a lawsuit against the school district, calling the handcuffing incidents police brutality.

"Our client was not posing a safety threat he was not doing anything at the time that would have necessitated the use of handcuffs or restraints," said Maronel Barajas, the family attorney.

Neither the sheriff's department nor the school district are commenting about the case citing pending litigation.

But in a statement the district said it has been working on evaluating the role of school resource officers in light of the events happening across the country.

"If they are treating 11-year-old children like this at school, imagine what they're doing to other people in the streets," the boy's father said.

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