North Carolina police officer Michael Fattaleh proved to be on a power trip from the moment he entered the “quiet room” to deal with an autistic seven-year-old boy who was reacting negatively to a new medication he had been placed on the previous day.
The boy was being held down by two staff members at the Pressly Alternative School in Statesville when Fattaleh swaggered in and grabbed the boy’s wrists, telling the staffers that “he’s mine now.”
Fattaleh then accused the boy of spitting, threatening to place a bag over the boy’s head if he spits again even though the cop later admits to the boy’s mother that he exaggerated the initial spitting allegation for reasons he did not explain.
For the next 38 minutes, Fattaleh forced the boy to kneel facedown with his hands cuffed behind him, taunting the boy like a schoolyard bully as the boy cried out in pain.The incident took place in September 11, 2018 but is only coming to light now after the boy’s mother filed a lawsuit against Fattaleh, the city of Statesville and the Iradelle-Statesville Board of Education.
Fattaleh’s bodycam footage was released last week after local news station WSCOTV took the issue to court, prompting a ruling by a judge who ordered the faces in the video to be blurred.
“Ever been charged before?” the cop asks the boy who responds that hat he has not yet had the pleasure of being criminally charged in his young age.
“Well, you’re fixing to be,” the cop responds – a cop more than happy to force a child into the school to prison pipeline.
“If you, my friend, are not acquainted with the juvenile justice system, you will be shortly,” the cop says with glee.According to the Charlotte Observer:
THE BOY’S CRIME? ACCORDING TO A NEW LAWSUIT FILED BY THE CHILD’S MOTHER, IDENTIFIED AS A.G., FATTALEH SAYS HE SAW THE SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENT SPITTING IN A “QUIET ROOM” AT THE PRESSLY ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL IN STATESVILLE.
THE OFFICER REPEATEDLY PLEDGED TO CHARGE THE BOY WITH ASSAULT LATER THAT DAY, TELLING THE BOY’S MOTHER THE CHILD HAD BECOME COMBATIVE, PUNCHING AND KICKING, BEHAVIOR THAT IS NOT APPARENT DURING THE VIDEO. IT REMAINS UNCLEAR WHETHER THE CHARGES WERE EVER FILED.
ACCORDING TO CHARLOTTE ATTORNEY ALEX HEROY, WHO IS REPRESENTING THE BOY’S MOTHER, FATTALEH INAPPROPRIATELY INJECTED HIMSELF INTO A SITUATION WITHOUT BEING SUMMONED BY THE BOY’S TEACHERS, THEN USED PHYSICAL FORCE THAT CAUSED THE CHILD AT TIMES TO SCREAM OUT IN PAIN.
“IT’S ONE OF THE WORST VIDEOS I’VE EVER SEEN,” HEROY TOLD THE OBSERVER ON FRIDAY.
“A SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER AT A SCHOOL FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS HANDCUFFS AND PINS A 7-YEAR-OLD BOY TO THE GROUND FOR ALMOST 40 MINUTES? THERE IS NEVER A NEED FOR THAT, PARTICULARLY SINCE THERE WAS NEVER A THREAT OF HARM TO ANYONE. THE REPORTED ACT WAS THAT THE CHILD SPIT ON THE FLOOR. THAT SHOULD NEVER JUSTIFY THIS KIND OF A RESPONSE TO A KID, TO A CHILD.”
It is only towards the end of the video when the cop is trying to justify his actions to the boy’s mother that the mother tells him he was placed on new medication the prior day which was likely the reason for his behavior.But the cop continued to justify his behavior by claiming the boy – who stood at 4 feet, 6 inches and weighed 80 pounds – was not only spitting but was also “direct punching” and “intentional pushing” him.
But none of that was caught on camera which probably explains why Fattalah is now a server at Cracker Barrel, according to his LinkedIn page. Local media reported that Fattaleh resigned from the department after he was cleared of any wrongdoing.
The boy was enrolled in the school for less than a month before the incident but has not been back since because he is suffering from anxiety over the incident. The mother says she has had to homeschool him since.
The lawsuit accuses Fattalah of violating school district policy by intervening himself in the situation when nobody had contacted him which is standard procedure.
Watch the full video here: