NAACP Calls For Florida Attorney General To Investigate Police Restraints On A Five-Year-Old Girl

State commission should review police procedures for handling unruly young children

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) today said the state attorney general should fully investigate the police handcuffing of a five-year-old kindergarten student after a disturbance in a St. Petersburg, Fla. school.

NAACP Interim President & CEO Dennis Courtland Hayes said: "A state commission and the U.S. Department of Education should investigate and review the school district policies for handling unruly school children. The state should also put into place safeguards to prevent young children from being hauled away in a police car. The police officers' conduct was outrageous and appeared to be an abuse of police powers. If three police officers and two education professionals have to resort to shackling a five-year-old girl, what kind of message are they sending to America's children? At any given moment across America, a child may throw a tantrum in a classroom, but they should not be subjected to being manacled and hauled off in the back of a police car."

The incident began on March 14 when police were called to the Fairmount Park Elementary School because the little girl was having a tantrum. When it appeared that her mother could not immediately come to the school the police were called. A videotape of the incident shows the girl tearing papers off a bulletin board and hitting at an assistant principal. The tape, which was released to the media by an attorney representing the girl's mother, Inga Akins, shows the girl appearing calm when the police arrive. The officers pinned the girl's hands behind her back, placed plastic restraints on her wrists and handcuffs on her ankles. She was then placed in the back of a police car.

Hayes said the local St. Petersburg Branch NAACP and the national NAACP will closely follow the police investigation of the incident as well as ask the U.S. Department of Education to investigate what appears to be a hostile school environment.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its half-million adult and youth members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

CONTACT: NAACP Office of Communications 410.580.5125

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