An 8-year-old Michigan boy has been charged with two felonies after he ran away from his school – charges the chief of the police jurisdiction he reportedly ran afoul of vehemently disputes.
The child was charged with malicious destruction of police property and resisting and obstructing after Allegan police officers were called to help corral the boy after he ran away from his school March 19.
Allegan Police Chief Rick Hoyer told MLive/The Kalamazoo Gazette he thinks the Allegan County Prosecutor’s Office overcharged the youth, who reportedly broke a police camera mounted in the back seat of a police cruiser after officers captured him.
“We have a very good prosecutor’s office and there’s not many times I disagree with them, but his is one of those times,” Hoyer told the newspaper Wednesday. “I don’t support these charges. … We’re talking about an 8-year-old with challenges.”
The boy’s family agrees.
“I don’t think he did anything wrong in this case,” the boy's stepfather, Robert Bluhm, told WXMI, FOX-17, explaining the special needs student at Hillside Learning and Behavior Center in Allegan has “anger issues.”
After he ran away from the school last month, school officials chased him, eventually catching up with him at a party store a block off M40 in Allegan. Police were asked to help apprehend the boy and transport him back to school in a police vehicle.
When asked his name, he reportedly cursed at and assaulted an officer. Once inside the vehicle, the boy allegedly broke the camera mounted inside.
Why Didn't School Officials Accompany Boy?
Bluhm claimed to the television station that police know his stepson has run away from the school and are aware of behavioral problems, but left him alone n the back seat of the police cruiser anyway.
“If they had him under control, why didn’t they ride with him in the back of this cop car so this incident would have never took place?” Bluhm said.
He said that when he asked school officials why no one accompanied a minor child back to the school “instead of just throwing him in the back of a cop car … they couldn’t answer that question.”
School officials told FOX 17 they were confident the situation was handled properly, but declined to comment a situation that involved a specific student.
Chief: Police Just Want $50 Restitution
Hoyer said the police department’s only goal is to recoup the $50 for the damaged camera.
Allegan County prosecuting attorney Frederick Anderson said the charges stand and a decision will be made about pursuing them in court after the child goes through counseling.
Bluhm told the Kalamazoo newspaper that counseling “may be a good thing” because “obviously, the kid needs help.”
But he said he’s upset about the felony charges.
“That floored me,” he said. “Who does that?”
Tell Us: Do you agree with the felony charges in this case?