June 27, 2022
ACLU alleges discrimination after Hawaii police handcuff Black 10-year-old girl
The ACLU of Hawaii is demanding the state’s education department and Honolulu police adopt immediate reforms following allegations that a then-10-year-old girl and her mother were discriminated against and had their rights violated last year.The organization sent a letter Monday to interim Honolulu Police Chief Rade Vanic, Hawaii Department of Education interim Superintendent Keith T.…

The ACLU of Hawaii is demanding the state’s education department and Honolulu police adopt immediate reforms following allegations that a then-10-year-old girl and her mother were discriminated against and had their rights violated last year. The ACLU of Hawaii sent Monday a letter to Keith T. Hayashi (Hawaii Department of Education interim Superintendent), and other state and local officials on behalf of Tamara Taylor. The letter stated that Taylor was held without probable cause, imprisoned, and subject to excessive force after an incident at school. The Hawaii Department of Education stated that it doesn’t comment on active or pending litigation. The Honolulu Police Department indicated that its representatives were reviewing the letter and are working with legal counsel in order to respond.

The letter is a result of a January 2020 case in which N.B. (Black) was accused of creating an offensive drawing of a student who bullied her at Honowai elementary school, near Joint Base Pearl Harbor–Hickham. According to the ACLU of Hawaii,

The drawing led to a complaint by a parent. On Jan. 10, 2020,, the school administrators called police in support of the parent.

A vice principal called Taylor that morning and asked her to visit the school. He said her daughter was involved with a dispute. According to the ACLU letter, the administrator informed Taylor that the school was considering calling the police.

Honowai Elementary School in Waipahu, Hawaii. Google Maps

A Honolulu police officer met Taylor when she arrived, according to the letter, which alleges that Taylor was detained in a room and prevented from seeing her daughter while N.B. Police and school staff interrogated Taylor.

Another officer arrived and Taylor was informed that the parent would press charges. She denied Taylor’s request to see her daughter, and also lectured her on child-rearing.

They allegedly told Taylor N.B. They allegedly told Taylor that N.B. was making fun of the situation and asked her to bring her child to the station.

The letter stated that Taylor witnessed her daughter being driven off in a police vehicle and shouted “No!” What was that? Bring her back! You’ve just violated our rights!”

Taylor then cried, “loudly and full of anguish as her daughter was being driven away in handcuffs,” the letter says.

When Taylor collected her daughter, N.B. According to the letter, Taylor found N.B. hungry and with marks on her wrists after she was handcuffed. “

In conversation with an officer, and a school administrator respectively, Taylor was informed that her daughter was taken by the police station to avoid her hitting N.B. According to an ACLU letter, school administrators decided that Taylor was “fire” and needed to keep her mother and daughter apart. Both were described as “prejudiced” and made “baseless assumptions”. “

Taylor sent a grievance letter to the school’s superintendent on January 13, requesting that her daughter be transferred to another school.

“There wasn’t a clear understanding of diversity and African American culture, nor was there any police involvement with African American youth,” Taylor stated in a portion of the ACLU letter. “My daughter is traumatized by these events, and we are certain that there is no future at Honowai Elementary. It is a sad day to realize that [N.B.] will be a permanent memory. “

In May 2020, Taylor also filed a complaint against the Honolulu Police Department regarding the three officers on-site that day.

The complaint was dropped in September 2020 by the Professional Standards Office, who concluded that there was not enough evidence to support it.

No charges were ever filed against N.B., according to the letter.

The ACLU of Hawaii claims that school administrators and Honolulu officers committed false imprisonment and arrest, excessive force and discrimination against N.B., as well as discrimination based on race and disability. Her mother.

The organization also charged both her mother and the staff of the education department with failing to account N.B. The ACLU letter stated that she had been diagnosed with ADHD.

The ACLU of Hawaii demanded that the Department of Education and Honolulu Police Department expunge all records related to N.B.’s arrest, pay $500,000 in damages and adopt a raft of reforms that would require officers that issue citations instead of arresting students for alleged misdemeanors, reduce police presence on public school campuses and ensure that parents are able to be with their children in the event of legal trouble.

“Ms. N.B. and Taylor’s demands are unreasonable in light of the facts and strength of the case. Acceptance would allow her to release all her claims against HPD, DOE,” the letter states. It also states that the demands are a good-faith effort to settle the matter amicably in a case in which our client’s attorney fees and costs are likely to be very high. “

The ACLU said the deadline for a response to their demands is Nov. 8.

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