Police chief 'so sorry' officers arrested 10 elementary school students

Police Chief Says He's Sorry Students Were Handcuffed at School
Police Chief Says He's Sorry Students Were Handcuffed at School

A Tennessee police chief is doing damage control this week after word spread that his officers arrested 10 elementary school students earlier this month.

Many of the children are still facing charges for not stopping a fight that allegedly happened off school grounds.

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The students are between 6 and 12 years old. At least five of them were handcuffed during the ordeal. All have since been released.

"I am so saddened, and I'm so sorry this incident happened," Murfreesboro Police Chief Karl Durr said in an April 24 interview with The Tennesseean, following the April 15 arrests.

The arrests were related to an alleged bullying incident involving at least two students, though they were not charged with assault.

Someone shot video of the fight, and students seen watching it were arrested and charged with "criminal responsibility for conduct of another," which means the kids did not make a "reasonable" attempt to stop the supposed brawl.

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So far, there's no indication that police will drop the charges, according to The Tennesseean.

James McCarroll, a pastor at First Baptist Church, called the arrests "unacceptable" in a video on Facebook that has more than 37,000 views.

This is absolutely unjust, and this is scary," McCarroll said. "We cannot sit by and allow this to happen to our kids."

Many black community members recently filled up the church for a meeting with the police chief, where they vented anger and frustration at officers slapping handcuffs on some kids barely old enough to read.

Durr, who only started his job on April 4, said he's going to use the incident to review police practices such as the arrest policy, which currently just says officers should consider whether to handcuff anyone younger than 12.

Local politicians have called for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of Justice to investigate the case, though so far it is the Murfeesboro Police Department that is conducting an internal review.