Now @MoCoCouncilMD holds briefing on a Jan 2020 incident in which a 5 year old boy was taken back to his school by Montgomery County Police. The incident, caught on video shows police yelling at the child, handcuffing him, and urging his mother to beat her child.
President of @MoCoCouncilMD Tom Hucker noted that the case is now in litigation, but said the briefing was needed, but "too much time has already gone by" since the incident more than one year ago.
Montgomery County Police @mcpdChief opens with a statement. Says as Chief, a father, and a 35 year vet of the force "was deeply troubled by the actions of my police officers" in the case.
Says the law regarding public employees bars him from discussing disciplinary measures and limits his ability to certain questions.
Asked why it took so long for the internal investigation, @mcpdChief says a DOJ recommendation of getting those done in 90 days precedes the use of body-worn cameras, and says the investigation took place in the middle of a pandemic.
"When we do these reviews," Jones says, it must be done in a "fair and just system". Jones says he's been around since 1985 when there were 75 officers in dept.
Jones said since then, there's been a push to make sure all officers are treated fairly. So in looking at this case, he wanted to be sure that the dept would not be accused of "discriminatory practices".
Sitting in on the hearing, Montgomery County CAO Richard Madaleno. He points out County Executive's budget includes 2 new internal affairs positions.
Council President @CmHucker asked what is fireable offense? "An officer committing a felony" said @mcpdChief or lying or "being dishonest" said Jones.
Hucker asks "Isn't it difficult for an officer" to know exactly what is a fireable offense. Jones says no.
Hucker asks could the officers in the case--who are both still on the force---could be called out on a case like the one involving the 5 year old boy. "They could" said Jones. Heavy sigh from Hucker.
CM @MC_Council_Katz opens questions saying "I know you all" and says he appreciates @mcpdChief coming before council, but says a case like this can "Never" happen again "especially to a child."
Discussion of body-worn camera program, Chief Jones says he has 1 person to do all the redactions on all footage.
"Video is great" but says "it is not the all to the end-all" says @mcpdChief
For anyone following, @mcpdChief is the handle for Chief Marcus Jones. (Don't want to confuse anyone.)
CM @MC_Council_Katz Chair of Public Safety Committee asks how often a child leaves a school and when police might be called. @MCPS Supt Smith says "It is quite a rare" situation when a child (elementary for example) would leave and police would be called.
Katz said he was asked why police were called. He asks if SRO assigned to school cluster was notified. Chief says he believes the SRO was not notified.
Katz says he's watched every minute of video, and asks why "wasn't the school in charge of the child at that point" when the boy was brought back to school building and under school supervision. Why did police stay?
Jones doesn't answer directly, indicating he can't say.
"Every adult in the room really did a disservice" to the little boy says Katz, including school officials when the child was brought back.
At this point, CAO Madaleno interjects, noting General Assembly legislation on police powers (wide-ranging bills) being acted on now could have impact in the county.
CM @RicePolitics asks, what is the policy when a child leaves schools? (Directed to @MCPS Supt Smith)
CM @RicePolitics asks why the SRO assigned to school wasn't called? @mcps Super Smith says he can't answer. (there is a current debate on council and state level on SRO's in schools)
Rice who has been a supporter of SRO's asks, citing the fact that they are trained directly in working with students.
If an admin feels they witnessed abuse: are they required to report that? @mcps Super Smith says school personnel are required to report abuse. Rice: did they report this? Smith says can't answer due to litigation.
Rice asks @mcps Super Smith what would he have done in a case like that? (Involving the little boy)
Smith speaks generally on discipline, restorative practices, etc.
"If you had a definition of school to prison pipeline, you could slot in this video" says @willjawando "Imagine how long it was for this little boy" who was yelled at and "failed" by every adult involved.
CM @willjawando says people have cited how long the 51 minute video is..."Imagine" he says how long it felt for the 5 year old boy involved.
Jawando prefaced Q&A asking for answers, knowing that litigation could keep @mcpdChief from answering. One question the Chief does one should scream at inches from the face of a young child.
Jawando asks if Chief would support repeal of #LEOBR @mcpdChief said he would not support wholesale repeal, but some elements of that.
CM @willjawando says anyone who did what he saw on the video "they do not deserve" to serve as a police officer---Jawando says that's his feeling on the matter.
Jawando asks precisely when @mcpdChief saw the Jan 2020 video--the Chief said he saw it in December---nearly a year later.
"To say the obvious--this is a very unsatisfying conversation" says @hansriemer says laws barring access to more info on this incident need to be changed.
"Everyone's hiding behind this lawsuit--what happened happened" says Reimer.
"We're just potentially perpetuating the problem" said @hansriemer by not conversing more freely about the incident. "Catastrophically flawed" system of discipline in policing, says Riemer.
"We need to design a matrix for things that happen at schools and then clearly delineate" who should respond "and why it should not be police officers" says @hansriemer Does say that police can offer mentorships that benefit kids, but the system needs a change.
CM asks when complaint was filed that triggered the investigation into the incident. @mcpdChief says late Jan 2020 complaint filed.
CM @nancy_navarro says she won't belabor the issue, but says as budget is considered, SRO alternative model should get another look.
"I still am pretty speechless" said @nancy_navarro Can't imagine-as a mother--"this is a very extreme incident."
In describing the video, @nancy_navarro struggles for words. "We have some work to do. There aren't a lot of answers today because there's litigation." But she says current legislation addresses some of the issues raised.
CM @EvanMGlass says training not the issue in this case. Police, he said, were dealing with a crying child. This wasn't a case of lack of "de-escalation" training. Asks about protocols for placing a child in a patrol vehicle. @mcpdChief says no formal protocols
CM @EvanMGlass asks how a school employee could have witnessed what police did in the video--but @mcps Super Smith says "I can't describe--specifically this event" says he has "a lot of thoughts and emotions" about the situation.
Council members @nancy_navarro and @EvanMGlass say that perhaps, a closed meeting is required so that they can get more info, but adds there's a need for public info and understanding.
CM @Andrew_Friedson says the incident was a failure by everyone involved. Friedson agrees closed session needed to get at questions that can't be answered in public setting. Notification to council was "inadequate"
CM @albornoz_gabe the last speaker says "This was before the pandemic" and says now with kids who've been through a challenging year with the social and emotional impacts, a need for care.
"Totally and utterly indefensible" says @albornoz_gabe Notes as the former Director of Recreation, saw law enforcement engage positively with young people. "What I saw on that video...made my stomach turn."
CM @albornoz_gabe recalls when he was a 5 year old boy and was separated from a group, and how a police officer helped him and treated him with love and care. Says that's still a vivid memory.

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