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Flint police officer handcuffs elementary school student, department review underway

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Flint police are reviewing an incident where a city police officer handcuffed a child at a Flint school.

Flint Police Chief James Tolbert says he has apologized to the mother of the child who was handcuffed. 

"The City of Flint Police Department takes pride in its commitment to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens, especially children,” Tolbert is quoted in a written statement. 

The incident occurred at Brownell Elementary on October 12.

According to a police statement, the unnamed officer responded to a call from the school about a student who appeared to be “intent on injuring himself” and was “assaulting” other students.

The officer handcuffed the child to prevent him from hurting himself or others. 

Chief Tolbert says the incident is under review.  

“The city will publicly release the results of its investigation upon completion,” says Tolbert.  

The department is training officers on ways to de-escalate incidents and communicate better with children.

Flint Community Schools Superintendent Bilal Tawwab says he's looking forward to getting “the facts” about the incident from the police department’s review.

“For Flint Community Schools, our number one priority is the safety of all our students,” Tawwab said in a written statement. “We expect our students to be safe in their schools and we are working in partnership with the Flint Police Department to get to the bottom of this incident.” 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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