NewsRegion Okeechobee County


More charges filed against Okeechobee boy on autism spectrum, placed under arrest

Posted at 7:47 PM, Feb 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-21 07:11:03-05

The video his mom shot went viral last year.

NewsChannel 5 is now learning there's more trouble for John Benjamin Haygood, the little boy in the middle of it all.

His mother, Luanne Haygood, says the state has filed four additional felony charges against John Benjamin.

She says the felonies, all of them for felony battery, came as a bit of a surprise, as the incidents in question took place in 2015.

“I don't see the point in putting up four more charges that happened when he was 8 years old,” Haygood said. "There's a reason why we don't arrest 8-year-olds."

Last year, she recorded video on her phone as school resource deputies took John Benjamin into custody, charging him with felony battery on a school employee.

The now 11-year-old is on the autism spectrum, and his mom says it was an autism-related episode.

The state prosecutor, however, says John Benjamin has more than 50 other documented incidents of physically aggressive behavior towards students and teachers.

“There's so many 7- to 12-year-old boys with autism that are getting arrested for meltdowns and behavior that can be avoided of the schools know how to react,” said Haygood.

Now facing this fifth charge, the boy's mother said she plans on fighting them all, while working to get her son back in school soon.

“He's regressing educationally, he's regressing emotionally, he's not been around other children,” said Haygood.

John Benjamin is set to have his next court date next month.

NewsChannel 5 reached out to the state attorney's office, but no one was available for comment Tuesday.

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