Democrats seek federal probe of ‘unconscionable’ handcuffing of kids

The handcuffing of children at a Murfreesboro elementary school got the attention of state legislators Tuesday.

According to the Daily News Journal: More than 150 people called for action Sunday after parents said at least five students, ages 6 to 10, were handcuffed at Hobgood Elementary School on Friday. The students were arrested, accused of not stopping a fight that happened earlier off-campus and later released from the juvenile center on Friday…

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart gave a speech on the matter during Tuesday’s House floor session and the Caucus subsequently sent out this press release:

NASHVILLE—State Representative Mike Stewart (D-Nashville) has issued this statement: “Today I call on United States Department of Justice to immediately open an investigation into the reported arrest and handcuffing of children as young as six by the Murfreesboro, Tennessee police. There is no explanation for such inexcusable conduct perpetrated against young children who were peacefully attending elementary school when accosted, handcuffed and jailed. We need a full investigation into this unconscionable incident to safeguard the children’s federal and state civil rights and to determine whether those involved should be prosecuted for criminal misconduct. This is every parent’s nightmare and we need to make sure that it is never repeated.”

“There is no rational safety justification for this act in our society”, said State Representative John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville). “We cannot begin to imagine the fear and confusion experienced by these young children. This experience will undoubtedly remain with them as they mature into adulthood and negatively mold their views of law enforcement officials. It is truly unfortunate that the inappropriate acts of a few, who are not representative of the other brave men and women who honorably serve our communities, will create a new level of distrust between our communities and law enforcement.”

“The handcuffing of young elementary school children is so completely outrageous and contrary to good sense that those responsible must be immediately held accountable for their incompetence and inaction”, Rep. Stewart added. “We need to make sure that this never happens again in the State of Tennessee. The Murfreesboro police chief reportedly described the handcuffing of children as young as six as a ‘learning experience.’ That shows that he completely misapprehends the seriousness of this incident of excessive force against young children. Clearly he is not capable of properly investigating this matter or holding all those responsible for their actions.”