MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Murfreesboro Police Department has released their final report on child arrests that made national headlines.
The report says after the arrests happened on April 15, an After Action Review Committee was formed to examine the incident in order to determine if the officers’ actions were in compliance with policies and procedures, identify any areas for improvement in the future, identify any policies, procedures or training issues needing review, and determine if internal communication channels functioned properly.
According to the report, four children between the ages of 9 and 12 were taken into custody. Only two of them were taken from Hobgood Elementary School to the juvenile detention center, neither of whom was ever placed in handcuffs. However, police said one of those students was “mistakenly transported” and “released immediately” when it was discovered there were no juvenile petitions against the child.
The other two juveniles, who were not transported from school, were both handcuffed but one child’s handcuffs were removed before being transported.
After the committee reviewed the arrests, they found 11 “areas of concern/opportunities for improvement.”
Procedures for verification of active petitions conducted prior to custodial arrests
School Safety and Education Officers supervision and active involvement in investigation
Operations and on-scene supervisory control at time of arrest
Administrative Services Division supervision proactively and fully addressing concerns of other officers
Chain of command notifications by Administrative Services Division supervision
Addressing conflicting orders across divisional lines
Assessment of proper urgency in effectuating arrests despite shrinking timeline
Communications between investigating officer and school personnel
Communications within the Administrative Services Division
Specific direction regarding handcuffing to transporting officers
Discussion with DA and Court regarding judicial requirement that requires juvenile suspects be arrested and prohibits Department from citing and releasing
Police Chief Karl Durr said he remains committed to addressing all concerns and policies identified.
“This report is not the end of this investigation. The Office of Professional Responsibility is conducting an internal affairs investigation regarding this incident,” the chief said in a statement. “Accountability is key to maintaining public trust and confidence, and just as we are accountable to the community, our supervisors and officers are accountable to the policies of the agency.”
Chief Durr also noted that Metro-Nashville police will assist in the internal investigation and also provide a peer review once the investigation is complete.
Background on the child arrests
Students at Hobgood Elementary School were handcuffed and taken into custody on Friday, April 15 after authorities say they didn’t break up a fight.
That fight was caught on cell phone video and showed two younger boys, both 6 years old, punching an older kid repeatedly. The boys throwing the punches were not arrested due to their age.
RELATED: Parents say 6-year-old son in Murfreesboro fight video not a bully
The arrests sparked both anger and sadness throughout the Hobgood community. Many wanted to know why children as young as 9 were handcuffed in the first place.
Chief Durr vowed to look into the matter at a meeting held two days after the arrests, which is what led to Wednesday’s report.
Click here to read more on the Murfreesboro child arrests.