FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A federal judge says it was unreasonable for a Kentucky sheriff’s deputy to handcuff two unruly elementary school students and says the county government is liable for the officer’s conduct.
The lawsuit was filed by the parents of two children, an 8-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl, identified in court documents only by their initials. In 2014, both children were handcuffed in separate incidents at separate schools after officials called for assistance from Kevin Sumner, a Kenton County Sheriff’s deputy and a school resource officer.
The lawsuit and an accompanying video uploaded to YouTube by the ACLU ignited a nationwide debate about school discipline. The video, captured by a teacher, showed the boy handcuffed above his elbows and squirming in a chair with his arms behind his back while crying that he was in pain.
Both students had been hitting and kicking school officials. But U.S. District Judge William O. Bertelsman noted neither child weighed more than 56 pounds and said Sumner’s handcuffing was “unreasonable and constituted excessive force as a matter of law.”
“We knew this was unconstitutional behavior. Anyone who viewed the video could see it was tantamount to torture,” said Claudia Center, senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Disability Rights Program.
While the judge ruled while the county is liable, he said the deputy is not. But the ruling is not yet final. The next step is to set a trial date to decide how much the county government has to pay. Once that trial is complete and a final order has been issued, the appeals process begins.
Both children had been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The 8-year-old boy attended regular classes at Latonia Elementary School in Covington. School officials did not know of his diagnosis at the time he was handcuffed. Officials at Covington’s John G. Carlisle Elementary School knew of the 9-year-old girl’s diagnosis and had a plan in place for her education, but the plan did not address behavior problems.
In the case of the boy, school officials say they decided to ask the sheriff’s deputy for help because they could not stop the child from hitting and kicking despite using several restraint techniques.
The girl was handcuffed twice in one month. In one instance, school officials said she was angry because she refused to give up some toys she had brought to school that were against the rules. School officials put the girl in a “calm room,” but said she continued kicking, hitting and blowing mucus. She also tried to bite a principal and an assistant principal, officials said.
Chris Nordloh, an attorney representing Kenton County, noted neither student was injured from the handcuffs. He said there are no perfect options for restraining combative students when it becomes necessary, noting school officials had tried numerous methods with no success.
“Nobody in this case disagrees that restraints are usually more effective and safer than physical force,” Nordloh said.
While noting the children were combative, the judge said the students’ “age and stature … is highly relevant.”
“While Sumner testified that (the child) swung his elbow towards Sumner, such can hardly be considered a serious physical threat from an unarmed, 54-pound eight-year-old child,” Bertelsman wrote.
RICHARDSON, Texas (AP) — Authorities are asking the public for any surveillance video that might show a vehicle that could be connected to the disappearance of a 3-year-old suburban Dallas girl who was made to stand outside her home in the middle of the night as punishment.
Police in Richardson say about an hour after Sherin Mathews went missing Oct. 7, her family’s 2013 maroon Acura SUV left the home.
Investigators are reviewing video they’ve received from residents and business owners in the area the vehicle could have traveled after leaving.
The girl’s father, Wesley Mathews, is charged with child endangerment.
Police say Mathews ordered his daughter to stand next to a tree behind the fence at their home at around 3 a.m. on Oct. 7 as punishment for not drinking her milk.
VIENNA (AP) — Wrapping up a bruising political campaign season, Austrian political parties were counting down to an election Sunday that could turn the country to the right amid voter concerns over immigration and Islam.
The vote is coming a year ahead of schedule after squabbles led to the breakup last spring of the coalition government of the Social Democrats and the People’s Party. A total of 16 parties are vying for 183 seats in the national parliament and will be chosen by Austria’s 6.4 million eligible voters. But less than a dozen parties have a chance of getting seats.
The People’s Party, which has shifted from centrist to right-wing positions, is leading in the pre-vote polls after an image make-over by its leader, 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz.
Austria’s traditionally right-wing, anti-migrant Freedom Party is expected to come in second and the center-left Social Democrats are thought to be trailing in third place.
Others that may clear the 4 percent hurdle needed to get into parliament seats are the Greens, the liberal NEOS, and Liste Pilz, led by former Greens politician Peter Pilz.
Favoring the People’s and Freedom parties is distrust of migrants and Muslims among many Austrian voters.
The 2015 influx of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the war in Syria and poverty elsewhere into the EU’s prosperous heartland left Austria with nearly 100,000 new and mostly Muslim migrants. That has fueled fears Austria’s traditional Western and Christian culture is in danger. As a result, voters are receptive to the anti-migrant platforms of both the People’s Party and the Freedom Party.
Although the Social Democrats have come either first or second in elections since World War II, voters are now more receptive to calls for tougher migration rules than the party’s focus on social justice.
“I’m of course pro-migration and that many people can come to us, but at some point we have to stop,” student Janine Leitner, 21 said Saturday in Vienna.
The Social Democrats are also fighting charges of dirty campaigning after Israeli political adviser Tal Silberstein posted on Facebook suggesting that People’s Party head Kurz was anti-Semitic. Silberstein has been fired and insists Social Democratic Chancellor Christian Kern knew nothing about the postings.
Kern says his party will go into the opposition if it does not win Sunday. With a handful of other parties struggling to just get into parliament, the most likely post-vote scenario is a People’s Party-Freedom Party coalition that would shift the government significantly to the right.
But other coalitions are possible, depending on the results of Sunday’s vote.
While Europe’s centrist governments could view a rightward shift with some concern, architect Bernhard Egelmuller didn’t think there would be any major negative international fallout if the Freedom Party does join the next Austrian government.
“Right-wing parties in governments … exist in other European states as well,” said the 60-year-old. “It has proven to be less dramatic than anticipated.”
Associated Press video journalists Eldar Emric, Philipp Jenne and Matteo Witt contributed.
A villa valued at seven million euros ($8.3 million) on an Italian island was allegedly how a Qatari television executive bribed a top FIFA official.
Italian police said Friday they seized the luxury property in Sardinia they claim Nasser al-Khelaifi, who is also president of Paris Saint-Germain, made available to former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke.
Details of the alleged corruption were revealed one day after Swiss federal prosecutors oversaw evidence-gathering raids in four European countries for a widening investigation of FIFA and the 2018-2022 World Cup bidding contests won by Russia and Qatar.
Criminal proceedings have been opened against Al-Khelaifi and Valcke for suspected bribery and forgery linked to awarding broadcast rights for the next four World Cups.
Al-Khelaifi is also CEO of Qatar-owned BeIN Media Group, which has World Cup rights across the Middle East through 2030, including the 2022 tournament in Qatar.
Italy’s financial police said in a statement the villa in Porto Cervo is owned by an international real estate company, and eight people were questioned.
A police video showed a sequestration order on the villa’s fine wooden gate, palm trees in a well-kept garden, and a white house with a Spanish-style roof.
Investigators believe the property was for the use of Valcke, FIFA’s CEO-like secretary general from 2007 until being fired in January 2016 amid separate corruption claims.
Valcke was questioned Thursday in Switzerland, one day after he testified at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne to challenge his 10-year ban by FIFA for financial misconduct.
Al-Khelaifi was not present Thursday when the Paris offices of BeIN were raided by French authorities joined by Swiss investigators.
BeIN said the group “refutes all accusations” and that “the company will fully cooperate with the authorities and is confident as to the future developments of this investigation.”
Though PSG is not implicated in the case, FIFA’s ethics committee can impose an interim ban on the club president working in soccer while it investigates.
FIFA said Friday no formal investigation has yet been opened against Al-Khelaifi though ethics investigators are making preliminary inquiries.
ORANGE, N.J. (AP) — Students from a New Jersey high school have marched to police headquarters after an officer was recorded on video grabbing a teen girl by the hair.
Twin sisters Nyasia (ny-EE’-sha) and Kyasia (ky-EE’-sha) Sorrells tell News 12 New Jersey they were getting pizza on Thursday across from Orange High School when Officer Hanifah Davis tried to clear the corner.
Video shows Davis talking to Kyasia Sorrells and then telling Nyasia Sorrells to back up. When Nyasia Sorrells approaches, Davis grabs her by the hair and both girls end up on the ground with Davis on top of them.
Democratic Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren says Davis has been relieved of duty pending an investigation.
A school board staff member who tried to intervene was ticketed.
A police union representing Davis wasn’t immediately available for comment.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A white glove Michael Jackson wore on tour in 1981 is among the items up for bid in an auction of pop music memorabilia next month.
Julien’s Auctions says the rhinestone-covered right hand glove Jackson wore on the “Triumph” tour is expected to fetch $60,000 to $80,000. Also for sale is a red zippered leather jacket Jackson wore on tour in 1987 that’s expected to sell for $20,000 to $40,000.
The 1992 MTV Music Video Award won by Nirvana for its “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video is another featured item at the sale. It’s estimated to bring in $50,000 to $70,000.
Other items available at the Nov. 4 auction in Los Angeles include Elvis Presley’s sunglasses, one of Prince’s guitars and a shirt worn on stage by Jimi Hendrix.