10-year-old Louisiana boy with disabilities feared for life after deputy put him in chokehold, suit says

A 10-year-old disabled boy feared for his life last year when a Louisiana sheriff's deputy, responding to a school where he was experiencing emotional distress, put him in a chokehold, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the child's parents.
Ashley Hutchinson-Harper and Terry Harper, the boy's parents, allege that the actions, which were answered by deputies from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office on May 13, 2021, resulted in violations of the child's civil rights, including failure to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Like the sheriff's office, the Jefferson Parish School Board is named as a defendant in the lawsuit filed Monday in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
DISPLAY
A school district representative and the school board president declined to comment Thursday, citing the pending litigation. No one from the sheriff's office could be reached immediately for comment.
The boy, identified only by initials in the lawsuit, has been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD, and oppositional defiant disorder, or ODD, the lawsuit said.
The Mayo Clinic describes ODD as a common and persistent pattern of children's anger, irritability, argument, defiance, or vindictiveness toward authority figures.
Because of his disabilities, the fifth grader has an individual educational plan, the lawsuit said.
Sheriff's deputies were called multiple times to Congetta Trippe Janet Elementary School in Marrero because the boy punched his principal, threw a trash can through a window and wandered back and forth on the school's campus, the lawsuit said.
When deputies arrived and found the child, they made no attempt to de-escalate the situation or speak to relevant school staff about why the boy was upset, the suit said.
Instead, Sgt. Steven Trapani grabbed the 95-pound child's arm and pulled it behind his back. The boy was 4 feet, 5 inches tall at the time of the alleged incident, the lawsuit said.
Trapani then "put him in a chokehold" and pulled him "to the ground," according to the lawsuit.
The child was dragged to the ground while still in a chokehold, the suit said, causing him to be "in fear for his life".
Trapani could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana and Tulane Law School's Civil Rights and Federal Practice Clinic are representing the child's parents.
The child is identified as black in both the lawsuit and a statement from the Louisiana ACLU.
The organization said school staff called 911 rather than help calm down the boy, who had just been bullied and was upset about it. The situation worsened when sheriff's deputies arrived, the group said.
After the child was placed in a choke hold and handcuffed, the ACLU said, he was interrogated "in handcuffs for over an hour." His relatives were not allowed to be with him, the ACLU said.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and a ban on the excessive use of physical restraints and handcuffs on students with disabilities.
It said the boy was taken to a juvenile detention center after interrogation and charged with two counts of assaulting a police officer, one count of resisting arrest, one count of assaulting a school teacher and one count of simple criminal damage of less than $1,000 .
All charges were dismissed, the lawsuit said.

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