The mother of an East Silver Spring Elementary School student who had fled his school and was then subjected to a barrage of verbal abuse from two Montgomery County police officers as school staff stood by, filed a civil lawsuit, requesting $275,000 for each of 13 counts. The suit asks for $75,000 in compensatory damages and $200,000 in punitive damages for each of the 13 counts, for a total of $3,575,000
In a 51-minute video recorded by a police camera, the boy, who is now six years old, is seen crying and coughing as he is told repeatedly by Montgomery County Police Officers Dionne Holliday and Kevin Christmon that he should be spanked and is a bad boy. Some of the verbal abuse was leveled just a few inches from the boy’s face. The boy also was placed in handcuffs for a short time.
The boy’s mother filed suit against the two officers, individually and as police employees; Montgomery County and the Board of Education concerning the Jan. 14, 2020 incident.
According to court documents, the then-kindergarten student, broke a computer and hit another child with a clipboard before fleeing from the school. Staff at the school alerted Montgomery County Police Department. The two officers soon found the boy two-tenths of a mile from the school.
Count one is for assault and is filed against Officer Holliday. Count two also is for assault and is filed against Officer Christmon.
Counts three through eight are directed at Christmon. They include battery for grabbing and forcing the child into a chair, battery for handcuffing and holding the child’s hands behind his back, false arrest for holding the child in the chair, false arrest for handcuffing and holding the boy’s arms behind his back, false imprisonment for holding the boy in the chair and false imprisonment for handcuffing and holding the boy’s arms behind his back.
Count nine concerns the Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article 26, and is filed against Christmon for depriving the boy of his rights and against Holliday for aiding and abetting. It is also filed against Montgomery County, their employer. According to the lawsuit, the two officers caused non-economic damages “for the pain, suffering, humiliation, inconvenience, and embarrassment for the totality of events he was forced to endure.”
Count 10 concerns the Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article 24, and is filed against the BOE and employees of East Silver Spring Elementary School, who “repeatedly shared confidential information” about the boy without his mother’s consent.
Count 11 is for negligence and is filed against the BOE as employers of the school staff. This count alleges that the school did not “properly supervise” the boy and did not prevent him from leaving school property. Count 12 also is for negligence against the BOE as the school staff’s employer. The staff did not protect the boy from the officers’ actions, it states in this count.
The final count concerns intentional infliction of emotional distress and is filed against the two police officers. Their conduct, it states in the lawsuit, was “malicious, negligent, grossly negligent, intentional, reckless, extreme and outrageous, beyond the bounds of decency in society and in deliberate disregard of a high degree of probability emotional distress would result.”
According to the lawsuit, which was filed by Silver Spring attorneys Matthew Bennett and James Papirmeister on Jan. 13, 2021, the young boy “has suffered and will continue to suffer severe and extreme emotional distress.”