An 8-year-old special needs boy is facing two felony charges for $50 in damage he caused to a police car, and many say it’s another example of a bloated government lacking common sense.
The incident began March 19 when the boy, Eddy Hart, ran away from his school, Hillside Learning and Behavior Center in Allegan, Michigan, according to the local FOX 17 TV station.
School officials chased after the boy and called police to help. When an officer arrived, officials asked if he could take Hart back to school. Hart, who has anger management problems, cursed at and assaulted the officer.
“He has anger issues. They know this,” Hart’s stepfather, Robert Bluhm, told Fox 17. “And they’re going to throw him in the back of a cop car all by himself.”
Hart broke the police camera in the back of the car, which police said cost $50 to fix. He was charged with malicious destruction of police property and resisting and obstructing.
“If they had him under control, why didn’t they ride with him in the back of this cop car so this incident would have never took place?” Bluhm asked. “When I called the school to ask questions – why nobody rode with the minor child to the school instead of just throwing him in the back of a cop car – they had no answers for me. They couldn’t answer that question.”
According to Fox 17:
Prosecuting attorney Frederick Anderson said he couldn’t comment on the case, because it involves a minor. He said the charges stand. The student will need to undergo counseling, and then the court will determine whether those charges should be pursued.
The incident became public when Bluhm reached out to the TV station, hoping publication of the incident would change matters.
The boy and his stepfather subsequently visited the police department, with Hart handing the police $50 and apologizing.
“I asked him if maybe they could contact the prosecutor’s office and see if, ya know, maybe they could speak on his behalf,” Bluhm said.
“They say it’s pretty much out of their hands at this point. They accepted the apology. They understand. They understand that he knows he done wrong.”
Police Charged 7 Year Old, Too
This isn’t the first time that a special needs child has been charged in what appears to be police overkill. Earlier this year police charged a 7-year-old boy in North Carolina for firing a BB gun at an abandoned house and cars on a local road. His mother actually reported the incident by calling the police to apologize – and her innocent phone call led to the charges.
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“They told us that they considered it to be a violent felony — discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle,” Cherry Robbins told Fox News of sheriff’s deputies in Catawba County, North Carolina. “It was crazy. We completely disagreed with the charges.”
“They considered his BB gun a firearm,” Sam Grant’s stepfather, Ray Robbins, said of sheriff’s deputies. “It’s not a firearm. It’s a BB gun.”
Thankfully, charges were dropped before a court hearing.
“That night he was shaking – he was so scared he was shaking,” Cherry Robbins said of Sam the night before the court hearing. “He didn’t know what going to court meant but he knew that it was serious.”
Even though charges were dismissed Sam is still in trouble with his mother. News reports indicate he is being made to clean up around the church and polish pews. The boy won’t be allowed to play with his BB gun for a long time.
“It was infuriating what they wanted to do to that child,” Ray Robbins said. “This whole gun control thing is just nuts. For them to use a minor child — to prove a point and make an example — for certain groups — is just crazy.”
Did the police overstep in these two cases? Let us know what you think in the comments below.