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Lawsuit Accuses Police Officer of Abusing Disabled Students

  • Richard Green

A screengrab from the video showing officer Kevin Sumner handcuffing one of the students.

A screengrab from the video showing officer Kevin Sumner handcuffing one of the students.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit accusing a police officer in Kentucky of physically restraining two disabled schoolchildren.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit Monday against law enforcement officials in Kenton County on behalf of the mothers of the two children. The group released a video taken last year showing officer Kevin Sumner handcuffing one of the students, an 8-year-old boy, who suffers from a disorder marked by short attention spans and hyperactive behavior. Sumner tells the crying boy "You can do what we've asked you to do, or you can suffer the consequences" as he handcuffs him behind his arms by his biceps, due to his wrists being too small for the bracelets.

The lawsuit says Sumner's actions with the boy and the other student, a 9-year-old girl who also suffers from the same disorder, violated the children's constitutional rights, as well as state and federal laws that prohibit the forceful restraint of children.

Kenton County Sheriff Charles Korzenborn issued a statement Tuesday defending Sumner, saying the officer had done "what he is sworn to do and in conformity with all constitutional and law enforcement standards." Korzenborn and Sumner are each named in the lawsuit along with the sheriff's office.

According to data released last year by the U.S. Department of Education, only 12 percent of students in public schools have some type of disability, but make up 75 percent of those who are subjected to physical restraints while in school.

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