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Sheriff & School Got The Wrong Guy,|Mother & Son Tell Federal Court

MEMPHIS (CN) - In a bizarre complaint, a high school student says the Shelby County Sheriff arrested and jailed him and the School Board suspended him after other students beat him and the video was posted on YouTube. The sheriff allegedly denounced the kid on TV as a gang member - then the school board found that he was the victim of the beating, not its perpetrator.

Tatia Thompson says her son was walking home from Southwind High School when he was beaten in November 2007. She says school administrators told her there was nothing they could do because the beating happened off school grounds. She says they told her she should pick him up at school in her car.

Thompson says she transferred her son to Arlington High School instead, in January this year. In February, she says, a video of the beating was posted on YouTube. That allegedly prompted the sheriff to arrest the boy at school and jail him. Then the school board suspended him.

After he got out of jail, "the School Board realized that Justin had been arrested for an offense for which he was the victim," the complaint states. Since that fiasco, Justin has been harassed at school, and mother and son have both suffered depression and for which they needed medical treatment, they say.

They demand punitive damages for negligence, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

YouTube is not a party to this action.

The Thompsons are represented in Federal Court by Paul Springer.

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