In Baltimore, Maryland, police officers went into Morrell Park Elementary School, on Thursday afternoon, and took three 9-year-old girls and an 8-year-old boy out in handcuffs. The kids were arrested on aggravated-assault charges.
The charges were based on a fight that happened nine days earlier. The children were held for nearly 12 hours in a juvenile detention center nicknamed 'Baby Booking.'
The Baltimore Police Department defended the arrests, claiming the children were involved in more than just a schoolyard scuffle.
The Baltimore Sun reported that one of the children allegedly held another child’s head underwater, while another held a boy’s head on a railroad track and threatened to kill him.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said: “We handled the detentions as we would any felony suspect. I think what they did to the victims speaks for itself. We worked with the school administration to get them out of class. Once we brought them to the office, they were arrested.”
Sonia Kumar, an attorney with the ACLU of Maryland, condemned the arrests: “The fact that the Baltimore City Police Department’s chief spokesperson defends the police conduct on the ground that they ‘handled the detentions as we would any felony suspect,’ reflects a profound problem with the Department as a whole, and how it treats young children of color.”
"The actions of Baltimore City police in arresting and handcuffing eight and nine year old children at school are appalling, and also in plain violation of state regulations regarding school arrests."
“Even if it was appropriate to treat the fight between children as a criminal justice matter, there is no excuse for treating eight and nine year olds the same way we treat adult criminal suspects.”