PORTLAND (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Maine Department of Corrections that alleges officers at the Long Creek Youth Development Center used excessive force on an 11-year-old boy.
The boy, referred to as "A.I." in the lawsuit, has a host of mental health issues, including ADHD. The lawsuit claims officers did not give him his medication, which spurred a series of outbursts, leading to the incident.
Allegedly locked in his room without use of the bathroom, A.I. threatened to set off the sprinkler. The lawsuit claims officers removed items from his room, including pillows and the mattress. When they tried to take off his shoes, the boy reportedly spit towards them. Then, the officers restrained him and "bashed his face into the metal bed frame," according to the lawsuit.
"He should not have been brutally assaulted by guards," said Zachary Heiden, legal director for the ACLU of Maine. "No children belong in prison, and this little boy did not deserve the treatment that he received. We're hoping that this case leads to justice for this little boy and to make sure this never happens to somebody else again."
The lawsuit comes from an audit that the Department of Corrections requested from the Center for Children's Law and Policy, released in September 2017. That audit describes a similar scenario, referencing video and incident reports. No one at the CCLP, the DOC, or the ACLU would provide any of those documents.
The lawsuit also claims that Long Creek staff failed to provide proper medical attention both before and after the incident, including not giving A.I. his ADHD medication, or getting him to a dentist in a timely manner to fix his broken and missing teeth.
Department of Corrections Commissioner Joseph Fitzpatrick said Thursday that he could not comment on the matter, per instructions by the Attorney General's Office. A.G. Janet Mills also declined to comment on the case.
According to the ACLU, the boy left Long Creek on August 2, and is in his mother's care. The ACLU seeks damages.