Video Shows Police Arresting a 10-Year-Old Autistic Boy at School
Incredibly disturbing video out of Okeechobee Achievement Academy in Florida has emerged showing police officers handcuffing a 10-year-old autistic boy while his mother stands by helplessly, filming the ordeal on her iPhone. The boy, John Benjamin Haygood, can be heard pleading with officers not to touch him.
“I don’t know what’s going on, Mama!” he screams in the video. “I don’t understand.”
“I know, honey,” his mother tells him, before addressing the officers. “He has autism. He doesn’t know what’s going on, he’s scared to death, he’s 10 years old!”
The video also shows the mother asking if she can ride with him to the police station. The officers tell her no, but otherwise appear to ignore her requests for more information.
Unbeknownst to John Benjamin or his mother, the boy apparently had a warrant out for his arrest, after an episode last October in which he’d kicked an educational assistant. According to the police, that counts as battery. It’s unclear why the family had not been told of the boy’s arrest warrant.
President of the Autism Society of America Scott Badesch told the Washington Post that his organization will assist the Haygoods as they try to sort out what happened.
“It appears the school’s responses are beyond wrong and evil,” he said. “It is a tremendous failure by two allegedly responsible institutions—the police and the school.”