This past Friday, March 26, 2021, the Montgomery County Police Department released body camera footage from a horrific incident in January 2020. The footage, which was nearly an hour long, revealed police officers and school officials harming a five-year-old Black boy with a disability. County Councilmember Will Jawando shared the footage and a public statement, which we will link to below along with actions you can take to support this boy and his family, and to demand that no other child in Montgomery County — or anywhere else — faces this abuse.
He’s 5 years old. He was lost after wandering out of school. He needed just one kind adult, and everyone failed him. We have failed him. God help us all. –Michele Jawando
Every child, every person is created in the image of the Divine. This boy deserves so much better than he received. We will keep fighting with our partners to make sure that he, and every child in Montgomery County, can be safe at school and everywhere from the abuse that is captured in this video. So many Black children and children with disabilities are criminalized and treated as less than human and that is unacceptable anywhere. Neither police officers nor school officials nor any adult in a child’s life should treat him as an animal or a criminal because he behaved like a child. This boy deserves the same dignity and respect that all of us deserve, and as Michele Jawando said, we all failed him.
Councilmember Jawando’s Statement
Actions to Take
Bonimot Tzedek, a Jewish social justice program for teens in the Montgomery County area, is demanding comprehensive mental health services in Montgomery County Public Schools, instead of police.
JUFJ is a member organization of the Silver Spring Justice Coalition (SSJC). SSJC put out this statement in response to the release of the body camera footage, which includes a community letter you can sign onto either as an individual or on behalf of an organization.
Tell your state legislators to pass the strongest version of police accountability legislation before this legislative session ends in April.
Join the Montgomery County Defund Policing and Invest in Communities Coalition on Tuesday, April 6 at 6:00 PM to watch the county budget hearing as coalition members demand that we prioritize real safety for all of our children, instead of abuse like this boy experienced.