8yo ‘knocked unconscious & beaten’ at Cincinnati school days before suicide – footage
The footage, filmed on January 24, takes place inside a restroom at Carson Elementary School, according to Cincinnati homicide detective Eric Karaguleff, as cited by the Cincinnati Enquirer.
According to Karaguleff, the video shows a boy in a red and gray coat enter the bathroom, prompting other children to leave.
The boy punches another child in the stomach, "sending him to the floor in all fours" and threatens another.
Gabriel Taye, 8, then walks in and tries to shake hands with the boy. The boy in the red and gray coat then yanks Taye to the ground and "appears to celebrate and rejoice in his behavior" as Taye lies motionless.
Taye appears to have been knocked unconscious. For almost five minutes after the attack, "many students step over, point, mock, nudge, kick, etc.," the boy. The family's lawyer, Carla Leader, says Taye was unconscious for about seven-and-a-half minutes.
Eventually, assistant principle Jeff McKenzie enters the bathroom and discovers the eight-year-old lying on the floor.
The school did not tell Taye's mother, Cornelia Reynolds, that he had been assaulted, nor that he had been knocked unconscious, according to attorney Jennifer Branch, who is also representing the family.
Instead, the school told her that he had fainted and was in the nurse's office with normal vital signs.
“If the school had told her what had happened to him in the bathroom, that he was unconscious for such a long period of time, she would have taken him to the hospital immediately, reported that to the medical professionals, and she would have called police,” Branch said.
Taye was picked up from school and taken home. Later that evening, he became nauseous and vomited twice. His mother took him to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. The boy, according to Branch, only told his mother that his stomach hurt, noting that the mother believes he did not remember what had happened.
The boy stayed home from school the next day, but returned two days after the attack. After school, he went to his bedroom and hanged himself from his bunk bed with a tie.
Although the school system initially refused a request by the Enquirer to release the video of the assault, it has since agreed to do so. Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) spokeswoman Janet Walsh said it would be released "when it's ready," after it is edited to blur the faces of the children involved.
CPS has not addressed the allegation that Taye's mother was not told what happened.
However, Walsh said on Thursday that Detective Karaguleff "mischaracterized the events in the video," AP reported. She claims video evidence does not support the claim that Taye was being beaten by other students during the incident.
A statement from the school system claimed the school "immediately followed protocol" by calling the school nurse to evaluate Taye, and said the nurse advised the mother to take him to the hospital "to be checked out."
Responding to that claim, Branch said that no one from the school had told Taye's mother that he should be taken to the hospital, adding that if she had been told what happened, she "would have taken him to the hospital and not let him return to Carson."
Taye's family did not learn about the video until March, while their lawyers were investigating the boy's death. They decided to release details of the footage this week, hoping that parents of other students involved might come forward with further details of what happened, Local 12 News reported.
News of the footage has also prompted the office of Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco to ask police to reopen the investigation. The cause of death was initially marked as homicide.
"It was very hard for me to believe that an eight-year-old would even know what it means to commit suicide so I asked Cincinnati police to treat this as a homicide until proven otherwise and investigate it fully," Sammarco told WLW Radio.
The initial investigation concluded with no charges being filed.