Police Defend Using Handcuffs And Shackles On 5-Year-Old With Special Needs

The New York State Police are defending two state troopers who put handcuffs and leg shackles on a misbehaving 5-year-old boy and took him to a hospital for a mental evaluation, Fox News is reporting.

Chelsea Ruiz of Philadelphia, New York, admits that her 5-year-old son, Connor, can be a handful. Diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder, he’s been placed in special needs classes at his elementary school, according to the Watertown Daily Times.

Last Wednesday, the 5-year-old began acting out at school, as he’s been known to do. However, instead of teachers handling the situation — Ms. Ruiz claims that teachers in his class have permission to restrain him — police were called.

Ms. Ruiz posted her version of the events in a social media post.

Chelsea Ruiz’s Facebook Post

New York State Police, however, paint a different picture of what happened that day. Public Information Officer Jack Keller says that the troopers’ actions in using handcuffs and leg shackles on the special needs 5-year-old were completely reasonable and necessary, saying that he was “out of control,” “combative,” and a “danger to himself and others.”

Further, a school official claims that teachers spent two hours trying to de-escalate the 5-year-old’s behavior before turning to the police as a last resort.

Ms. Ruiz, however, is having none of it.

“An officer told me they had to handcuff his wrists and ankles for their safety. I told him that was ridiculous. How could someone fear for their safety when it comes to a small, 5-year-old child? He said that he understood because he had four children of his own.”

She also claims that the police officers’ concerns about the boy’s behavior were not echoed by the emergency room physician who saw him.

“The doctor who decides whether a person needs to see the psychiatrist decided he was just being a boy and threw a tantrum.”

Ms. Ruiz and her husband say they are seeking legal counsel and plan to sue.

“[I told the school social worker that the district] was going to pay for the emotional distress they just caused my son. I told her I was going straight to the media, getting an attorney, and that I had already called the state Office of Special Education.”

Do you think the police were justified in using handcuffs and leg restraints to manage a 5-year-old boy’s behavior outburst? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.

[Images courtesy of: Shutterstock/Alexander Raths, ]