CHICAGO — A newly released Chicago police officer’s bodycam video tells a different story regarding a controversial incident at a South Side elementary school.
During the incident, a student was forced to leave the school on a cold day in March. The family has said the principal wasn’t telling the truth about what happened that day. They said an interview that was recorded on a Chicago police officer’s body camera proves it.
The meeting was recorded on a Chicago police officer’s body camera and shows Cynthia Miller, then principal of Fiske Elementary School, claiming the student stormed out of the building on his own into the cold, with no coat and only in short sleeves.
She can be heard saying, “I told him, ‘If you can’t calm yourself down, I’m going to have to call the police.’ And that’s when he said, ‘I don’t want to be here’ and bust through us and went out the door.”
The family’s attorney Dan Herbert said the recently released video clearly contradicts earlier CPS surveillance video of the incident that was released last month. That video shows the boy being pushed toward the door by a security guard, with Miller watching. The boy’s path is blocked so he has no way to go but out.
The videos are part of a lawsuit filed against CPS by the boy’s family claiming he had been systematically bullied first by a student, then by the administration since he transferred to Fiske in September of 2018.
On the day in question, the boy’s grandfather had been called to the school because his grandson had gotten into a fight during recess. On the video the boy’s grandfather, who is also a Chicago police officer tried to defend his grandson and told him to hear the principal out. But by the end of the more than 40 minute meeting, Herbert said the boy appears beat down.
“This was just a really tragic case where she broke this kid, mentally, physically and emotionally and she did it for one reason to protect herself,” Herbert said.
Miller retired in October, 10 days after the lawsuit was filed. CPS said she has been place on the school district’s “do-not-hire list.”
The security guard has been suspended without pay and the school counselor who was also seen in the video is being investigated.
The family said the boy is now in a much better place but, he’s transferred schools and is still receiving counseling for what they say has been a traumatic experience.