A young boy with special needs was charged with two felony counts after an incident involving police officers.
According to reports, eight-year-old Edward Hart ran away from Hillside Learning and Behavior Center in Allegan, Michigan on March 19. The police report says that two teachers attempted to chase down the child as he ran out of the school, and eventually, a third teacher was able to find him a block away from school property.
Police officers were asked to help escort the boy back to the school, and when an officer asked him what his name was, Michael allegedly cursed at him.
“He has special needs. He has anger issues,” explained Robert Bluhm, Michael’s stepfather. “They know this, and they’re going to throw him in the back of a cop car all by himself.”
Reports allege that the eight-year-old destroyed the rear camera on the back of the patrol car, and because of that, he has now been formally charged with malicious destruction of police property and resisting and obstructing. Both charges are felonies.
“I don’t even think he did anything wrong in this case. He’s special needs,” said Bluhm. “If they had him under control, why didn’t they ride with him in the back of this cop car. So this incident would have never took place? We disciplined him majorly. He has a day in a timeout chair. He had one week with no TV and he lost his [Nintendo] DS for life, we took it away because if we have to pay for this camera and pawn that off.”
Police say the only thing they wanted out of all this was for the family of the eight-year-old to pay the $50 it would cost to replace the camera, but they didn’t expect it to go as far as felony juvenile charges. Chief Rick Hoyer told Fox 17 News that he didn’t agree with the decision to criminally charge the young boy.
“When I called the school to ask questions – why nobody rode with the minor child to the school instead of just throwing him in the back of a cop car – they had no answers for me,” said Bluhm. “They couldn’t answer that question.”
Prosecutors stand by their decision to charge the young boy and say that he will first have to go for counseling before a court can determine whether or not they will actually stick.