MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – News 2 has obtained video of an alleged fight that prompted Murfreesboro police to handcuff elementary school children.
It’s a story we broke first and it continues to get national attention, and now the Tennessee Black Caucus and other state representatives will hold a press conference about the arrests Thursday at the Capitol. One mother, who didn’t want to show her face or use her name, says she’s horrified about what happened to her two children.
“I have seen the video and my children are not in that video anywhere,” she told News 2.
That video is of a neighborhood fight between children. The video already had a filter on it and News 2 made it black and white to make it clearer. Two smaller kids are seen hitting an older boy several times. After the video surfaced, sources told News 2 a school resource officer came to the neighborhood and interviewed many children about the fight.
Several juvenile petitions were issued, but they were not for the kids throwing punches, who were only 5 and 6 years old, but for bystanders who did not stop the fight. The mother told News, “No, she was not there,” speaking of her daughter. “She told that lady that she came after the fight, so she wasn’t able to see the fight.”
But last Friday, the woman’s 9-year-old daughter was called out of her classroom at Hobgood Elementary School and placed into handcuffs along with three other students.
“They tried to calm her down and they started putting handcuffs on them, telling her to calm down, [saying] ‘it’s going to be okay’,” the mother told News 2.
“It just chokes me up,” she added. “She told me they walked her outside with handcuffs on.”
The 9-year-old girl was put in the back of a patrol car and taken to juvenile hall. The problem is the mother says her daughter did not have a petition for her arrest.
“There are no charges on her,” she explained.
The mother told News 2 she sent her daughter back to school the following week, this past Monday and Tuesday, but her daughter was emotionally traumatized by what happened, she didn’t want to go to school on Wednesday.
“She is a good child. She don’t get into no trouble, and she loves to go to school, and for her to be subjected to something like that, just breaks my heart,” the mother said.
However, her 13-year-old son’s name did appear on the arrest document, so she turned him in at juvenile detention, but she maintains he didn’t see the fight either.
“He was in the back of the house playing basketball,” she said. “He wasn’t at the fight. He didn’t see the fight, and he told this lady that.”
The case has now gotten the attention of the local and state branch of the NAACP and the ACLU.
“We just want to fully investigate fully and find out the details of why it happened the way it did,” said Katie Wilson with the NAACP.
Several state lawmakers are now calling for a justice department and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to look into this case.
The Murfreesboro police chief has called for a review of what happened and is expected to have a report in 15 days.