ACLU Statement Regarding Handcuffing and Arrest of Eight and Nine-Year Old Children at Baltimore City School

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; The following can be attributed to Sonia Kumar, an attorney with the ACLU of Maryland’s Juvenile Justice Project, who is available for media interviews: “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. 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. An eight or nine year old child is simply not ‘any felony suspect,’ and the law almost universally recognizes fundamental differences between children and adults. The fact that the Baltimore City Police Department is unable or unwilling to acknowledge that difference is deeply troubling. The fact that the Baltimore Police Department is a repeat offender in this regard, having been made a national disgrace for arresting a seven year old boy in handcuffs in 2007, is even more disturbing.”