Police expert says Boynton Beach Police officer could have hurt child with 'leg sweep'

Incident caught on camera

Boynton Beach Police are investigating an incident involving a thirteen-year-old boy who was taken off of a school bus and handcuffed by an officer.

In a video taken by a student on the bus, the officer appears to kick the legs out from under the teen.

"I didn't see anything in that portion of the video that would lead me to believe in any way there was a reasonable need for that type of technique," law enforcement expert Dennis Root said.

Root has twenty one years of police experience and testified in the George Zimmerman trial. He worked for both the Martin County Sheriff's Office and Riviera Beach Police Department.

Because the teen in the video appears to be handcuffed, Root says the leg sweep could have hurt him.

"The thing I saw that really caught me is there was a leg sweep that caused the kid to fall straight back onto his restrained hands and the potential for injury is really great," Root said.

Root says it is important to note the teen does not appear to be completely cooperating with police.

"When he sat him on the ground he sat him flat on his rear end but the first thing the young man did was try to get in the position he wanted to be in. Those small movements are indicators they are actually resisting," Root said.

Root also says it is impossible to get the full picture of what happened solely based on the video.

He says if he was an officer in that position he would have moved the juvenile away from the bus where other students were yelling.

"One of the first things I personally would have done is I would have moved him from view and association with the other juveniles," Root said.

Root says the Boynton Beach Police chief is doing the right thing by launching an internal investigation.

"It most certainly warrants a thorough and complete investigation of the incident in its entirety" Root said.

A spokeswoman with the Boynton Beach Police Department said the chief could not comment because there is an internal affairs investigation underway. The officer is on administrative leave.


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