WYNWOOD (CBSMiami) — A 5-year-old student was handcuffed by a cop at school for fighting with another child.
Kindergartner Jose Feliciano told his dad a police officer pulled his ear and slapped handcuffs on him after he was called into the office at Eneida Hartner Elementary School in Wynwood in February.
A Miami Police Internal Affairs investigation found the allegations are true.
According to the report, Jose was caught “biting another student, was cursing at [the teacher]… and had busted that student’s lip in the past.”
The teacher told investigators that Jose showed “no remorse” so she took him to the counselors office.
Paul Gourrier, 22-year police veteran who was on campus for an unrelated incident, decided to teach the kid a lesson.
Gourrier “admitted to handcuffing the student to demonstrate the consequences for his actions and to ‘tugging’ on his ear to get his attention,” according to the IA report. He then “pointed to his marked police car and explained that if that behavior continued he could be asked to take [Jose] to jail.”
“I’m worried and furious,” said the boy’s mother, Mari Bonilla, in Spanish. “My son is traumatized.”
Jose’s father said the day the incident happened he was asked to pick his son up from school for misbehaving, but was never told about the run-in with officer Gourrier.
He found out later that day when Jose told him about what happened.
“It’s not just,” said Hector Feliciano in Spanish. “I should be reprimanding my child. An officer handcuffing him is unacceptable.”
Miami-Dade County Public Schools released the following statement:
“The officer in question is not a Miami-Dade Schools police officer. Our officers are specially trained to deal with children using abundant care and compassion. At Miami-Dade County Public Schools, we do not condone this action on the part of other law enforcement entities, even if was done as part of a demonstration to teach a lesson.”
Hectors says he believes the officer should not be allowed near children, and many parents at the school agree that Gourrier went too far.
“Wow, wow, wow,” said parent Tim Mendez. “Why a 5 year old? That teaches a 5 year old a lesson? You have time out, you have punishment, you can take games away from children, you can put them in corners. You got to put handcuffs on a child? What sense does that make?”
The City of Miami Police Department suspended Officer Gourrier for two days without pay in June, and ordered him to undergo professionalism and ethics training. During an interview with investigators, Gourrier said if he had to do it all over again, he would not have handcuffed the child.