QPD officer exonerated following investigation of Baldwin School incident
7 months, 3 weeks ago
A student suffered injuries following an altercation last month; QPD says use of force by the officer was "justified"
Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley submitted the following statement to local media regarding an incident involving a student last month at Baldwin Intermediate School:
On Monday, September 24, a (Quincy-QJ) mother circulated an email to local media outlets( also via social media-QJ) and City of Quincy administrative personnel, including the Quincy Police Department. The email was complaining about the treatment of the woman’s nine year old son by both Quincy Police and Baldwin School personnel during an incident at the school on September 21, 2012.
The Quincy Police Department immediately started an investigation into the matter. The mother did cooperate with our complaint process and the investigation became an internal affairs investigation. That investigation is now complete. The investigation consisted of the following: review of all police and school reports, review of medical records, interviews with the mother, the student, Baldwin School staff, and Officer Bill Calkins (School Resource Officer assigned to Baldwin School).
The investigation yielded the following sequence of events:
At approximately 1:15 p.m. on Friday September 21, 2012 Officer Calkins was called to assist school staff with a disruptive student in one of the ED (emotionally disturbed) classrooms. A nine year old student had become disruptive and had climbed up onto the top of a partition separating the room into “offices.” The partition was nearly seven feet tall. Upon his arrival, Officer Calkins found the student to be yelling and screaming and crawling back and forth on the partition. Like the school staff before him, Officer Calkins attempted to verbally de-escalate the situation and talk the student down, with no success.
At approximately 1:30 p.m. it was decided to physically remove the student from the partition for his own safety; not only was he crawling back and forth, but he was shaking a shelf and television mounted to the wall as well. Officer Calkins climbed onto a table and physically moved the student from atop the partition. He was able to grab the student with both hands and safely move him to ground. Once on the ground, the student started struggling and resisting the officer. Officer Calkins attempted to restrain the student by kneeling behind him and applying what is referred to as a “child protective hold” or “children’s control position.”
Before school staff could assist Officer Calkins, the student slipped down out of the hold and kicked over his head, striking Officer Calkins in the face. From a kneeling position, Officer Calkins put the student face down on the floor and handcuffed him. During the handcuffing, the student continued to struggle and resist. As a result, the student suffered an abrasion on his face from the carpeted floor. Ultimately, the student was transported to the Quincy Police Department and released to his mother. Due to the age of the student, reports of the incident were referred to the Adams County Probation Department for review.
The disposition of the internal affairs investigation regarding the claim of excessive force is “Exonerated.” This means that the force used by Officer Calkins in this case was justified, lawful, and proper. It is unfortunate that the student was injured. However, it is clear that the injury was unintentional and that the force used by Officer Calkins was necessary to initially remove the student from harm’s way and then to effectively control him.
There were some secondary issues involved in the mother’s complaint. She was concerned that her son was “arrested,” “booked,” and fingerprinted. In addition, she complained that she had to wait in the police department lobby for forty-five minutes before she could see her son.
The student was taken into custody for Aggravated Battery to a Police Officer. Once taken to headquarters, officers gathered the necessary information from him so as to refer the reports to the probation department. Photographs of his injuries were taken. He was not “booked” and he was not fingerprinted. Our investigation determined that the student was at the police station for approximately twenty minutes. The mother would have waited longer than that, as she responded to the police station instead of the school and was there before her son arrived.
While there is no legal requirement to allow the mother to be with her son while at headquarters (because he was not being interviewed), allowing her to do so would have been prudent and could have expedited the student’s cooperation with the process.