Florida Police arrest 10-year-old autistic boy at Okeechobee Achievement Academy and place him in jail for a night

in Human Rights by

10-year-old autistic John Benjamin “John Benji” Haygood was arrested at Okeechobee Achievement Academy

  • John Benji was arrested after an incident where he kicked a teacher in October of 2016

  • The autistic boy’s mother Luanne Haygood managed to record the entire arrest

  • The confused child was forced to stay the night in a juvenile detention facility

  • John Benji’s arraignment is scheduled for May 11 of this year

A viral Video shows 10-year-old John Benjamin “John Benji” Haygood being arrested at Okeechobee Achievement Academy. While the thought of a 10-year-old boy being arrested at his school and be taken to jail is already horrifying, John Benji’s story gets even worse.

Not only was the child far too young to face imprisonment, but John Benji also has autism, making the situation that much more terrifying for him. His mother Luanne Haygood managed to get the entire arrest on video.

Haygood says her and her son were called into state standardizing testing April 12, 2017. While there, officers arrived and arrested her son for an incident that occurred in October of 2016. The child was forced to stay the night at a juvenile facility.

Please Don’t Touch Me

Haygood uploaded the video to her Facebook account and it quickly went viral. In the video, John Benji says, “This is so fucking dumb, mama.” John Benji can be heard saying repeatedly, “I don’t want to be touched. Please don’t touch me,” as his mother is trying to keep the confused child calm.

As the officers walked the child to the police cruiser in handcuffs, Haygood followed and continued recording. At one point she asks if she could ride with him, to which an officer responds “no.”

John Benji can be heard screaming, “I don’t know what’s going on mama! I don’t understand!” Haygood responds with, “I know honey.” The mother tried to get the officers to understand the severity of the situation by saying, “He has autism. He doesn’t know what’s going on, he’s scared to death, he’s 10 years old!”

The officers were unfazed by the mother’s plea as they placed a terrified John Benji in the police cruiser and took him to the detention facility. Luckily Haygood had the wits about her enough to pull out her phone and record the entire incident.

John Benji Was Diagnosed With Autism 2 Years Ago

Two years ago John Benji was diagnosed with autism. Since the diagnosis, John Benji was given an individualized education plan and assigned a paraprofessional educator. Haygood said John Benji has been having issues with his aide, at one point even claiming he was hurting him.

The educator reported John Benji on October 27, 2016. According to the probable cause affidavit, John Benji was disrupting the class by “throwing paper balls around the classroom and hitting other students.”

John Benji then refused to go to timeout. The educator attempted to remove John Benji and place him back in the time out area. According to documents, John Benji began “kicking and scratching and punching.”

John Benji was restrained by the educator, who wrapped his arms around his upper torso so he would not cause any restriction to the child’s breathing.

From that incident, John Benji had an outstanding warrant, but the family says they were never aware of a warrant. As of now, John Benji’s arraignment is scheduled for May 11 of this year.

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