WASHINGTON (CN) - A police officer slammed a 10-year-old student's head on a table, concussing him, while talking to students about "behaving in class," the boy's mother claims in court.
Chante Price sued Metropolitan Police Officer David Bailey Jr. and the District of Columbia, in Federal Court.
She claims Bailey assaulted her son while the boy was discussing a book with a classmate, at Wilkinson Elementary School in Southeast Washington.
Moten Elementary students were temporarily assigned to Wilkinson because of renovations, Price says in the complaint. She claims Bailey's assault gave her 80-lb., 4-foot 10-inch son headaches for two weeks and made him afraid to go to school.
"On April 19, 2012, T.P. was in music class," the complaint states. "T.P.'s teacher sent him to the cafeteria because he wasn't participating adequately in the class. In the cafeteria, he sat at a lunch table with a few other classmates who were also being disciplined. Officer Bailey was present in the cafeteria. There were no other adults in the immediate vicinity.
"On information and belief, Officer Bailey regularly stopped in Moten Elementary School at Wilkinson as part of his routine patrol.
"Officer Bailey lectured the children about behaving in class. T.P. quietly discussed the book he was reading with a classmate.
"Officer Bailey approached T.P. and said, 'Stop playing with me.' T.P. responded that he was 'not playing.' Officer Bailey grabbed T.P. by the back of his head and slammed T.P.'s head forward into the table. Officer Bailey then grabbed T.P. by the shirt and forcefully lifted him off his chair. Officer Bailey threatened, 'Play with me again, I'll take you to 7D [the Seventh District police station].' Officer Bailey dropped T.P. back onto his chair.
"T.P.'s teacher entered the cafeteria shortly after the incident, and T.P. reported the incident to her. The teacher responded that she could not do anything because Officer Bailey was a police officer." (Brackets in complaint).
In addition to the concussion and headaches, the assault injured her son's chest, Price says in the complaint.
She claims her son now is afraid to go to school, where he "feels insecure in his classroom, even with a teacher present."
Price says she filed a complaint against Bailey with the District of Columbia Office of Police Complaints, which is investigating, but the U.S. Attorney's Office declined to prosecute Bailey.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said in a statement that "police officers should be afforded due process just like anyone else, before judgment is passed. It should also be noted that criminal charges were declined in this matter."
Price seeks compensatory and punitive damages for constitutional violations, assault and battery.
She is represented by Arthur Spitzer with the American Civil Liberties Union.