Kentucky police officer accused of handcuffing two children with mental health problems 'as punishment'

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit in federal court

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A school security officer and a police officer have been accused of putting two schoolchildren with mental health problems into handcuffs as means of punishing them.

A video released on Monday as part of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, appears to show one of the youngsters screaming in pain. The video was apparently recorded in 2014 and officials said the children had been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Kenton County Deputy Sheriff Kevin Sumner and Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn are named in the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.

The video appears to show Mr Sumner handcuffing the boy behind his back. The actual cuffs are placed around the boy’s biceps, perhaps because the boy, at 52lbs, was too small to be handcuffed at the wrists.

“Oh, God. Oh, that hurts,” says the boy, dentified as SR.

“You can do what we ask you to or you can suffer the consequences,” the officer said.

The Kenton County Sheriff’s Department said it will not comment until it reviews the lawsuit, ABC News reported.

"Both children were being punished for behaviour related to their disabilities," says the lawsuit. "Neither was arrested nor charged with any criminal conduct. The lawsuit was filed on their behalf." 

The lawsuit claims the boy was removed from class because he was not following the teacher's directions. He then tried to leave the headteacher's office but was physically restrained by school administrators.

On the way back from the bathroom, he tried to hit Mr Sumner with his elbow, according to a report from the Kenton County Sheriff's office, and was then handcuffed.

The lawsuit added that the children have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

It said the second student, a nine-year-old girl, was also handcuffed twice in the fall of 2014.

The children “experienced pain, fear, and emotional trauma, and an exacerbation of their disabilities” as a result of being handcuffed, according to the ACLU and lawyers for the children’s parents.