Kindergartner handcuffed, taken to police station after allegedly throwing tantrum

By Miguel Llanos
Msnbc.com

The family of a 6-year-old Georgia girl is upset at police and school officials after the girl was handcuffed and taken to a police station for allegedly throwing furniture, tearing items off the walls and knocking over a shelf, which injured the principal.

“A 6-year-old in kindergarten?” Earnest Johnson, the father of Salecia Johson, asked with disbelief. “They have no business calling the police and handcuffing my child,” he told WMAZ-TV. Police defended their actions during the incident which occurred last Friday at Creekside Elementary School in Milledgeville, Ga.

“Our policy states that any detainee transported to our station in a patrol vehicle is to be handcuffed in the back. There is no age discrimination on that rule,” Milledgeville Police Chief Dray Swicord told WMAZ-TV.

The family on Tuesday demanded that the city change its policy, the Associated Press reported, and claimed the girl was shaken up while at the police station. The police officer called to the school later wrote that he “noticed damage to school property and possible assault of other students and staff. I made six attempts to contact her mother via telephone.”

“I attempted to calm Johnson down,” he wrote in his incident report. “Johnson then pulled away and began actively resisting and fighting with me.” The principal, Dianne Popp, said “a small shelf struck her in the leg while Johnson was throwing items at her,” according to the police report, and that the girl “tried several times to get out of the office. Johnson was observed biting the door knob of the office and jumping on the paper shredder and attempted to break a glass frame above the shredder.”

Johnson was charged with assault and damage to property, WMAZ-TV reported, but she will not have to go to court because of her age. Johnson’s mother, Constance Ruff, says her daughter was suspended until the start of the next school year. “She has mood swings some days, which all of us have mood swings some days,” she told WMAZ-TV. “I guess that was just one of her bad days.”

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