Video After The Jump
After viewing police body camera footage, the mother of a 6-year old girl who was involuntarily committed to a mental health facility for two days after having a tantrum at school, said she wants to know exactly what happened before officers arrived.
"I want answers. An apology would be nice, but it's not going to erase the pain that I feel watching that video knowing my daughter may have been provoked because their staff was irritated or maybe had a bad day and didn’t want to deal with a special needs child," Martina Falk said at a news conference on Thursday night.
Part of the body cam video shows the little girl calmly being escorted to a patrol car. In another part, an officer, who is off-camera, can be heard saying, "she's perfect, she's fine." One clip shows an officer suggesting school staff may be "pushing" the girl's buttons.
Falk's attorney, Reganel Reeves, said the staff at Love Grove Elementary knew the girl had a disruptive mood disordered and the third-party mental health professional licensed by the school should not have invoked the Baker Act, which allows the involuntary institutionalization and examination of a person who is deemed a threat to themselves and others.
"She had tantrums. Six-year-old kids have tantrums. Children with special needs have tantrums," he said.
Reeves said he believes having the girl taken into custody was an act of false imprisonment and a civil rights violation against a child with special needs.
Duval County Public Schools said it is up to a mental health professional to decide if a Baker Act is appropriate and not a decision the school district makes.