‘Should be Taking You to Jail!’: Wyoming Deputy Slams Special Needs Second Grader to Ground in Bloody Takedown on Air Force Base School Campus

The parents of a second grader have filed a federal lawsuit claiming that a deputy in Laramie County, Wyoming, violated their son’s civil rights.

Edited footage of the incident shows the school resource officer tackling the 8-year-old to the floor and admitting to giving him a bloody nose during an incident at Freedom Elementary School in Cheyenne, Wyoming, last year.

The officer, Laramie County Deputy Benjamin Jacquot, further intensified the situation by threatening the boy with jail, causing the elementary school student’s fear to escalate to the point where a nurse was called to tend to him.

Wyoming Deputy Slams Special Needs Second Grader to Ground in Bloody Takedown on Air Force Base School Campus
Video screenshot of Laramie County Deputy Benjamin Jacquot holding an 8-year-old student on the ground. (Photo: YouTube screenshot/9News)

According to the lawsuit, in February 2022, the child, who is identified in the court record only as J.D., has been spending his lunch recess in the principal’s office in accordance with his customized Individualized Education Plan issued because of his neuro-divergent disability.

After lunch on the day of the incident, as the second grader sat at a desk in the hallway, he received a reprimand from a teacher and a principal for his remarks to a cashier in the school’s lunchroom. The deputy joined the group.

Without being asked to intervene in the conversation or to enforce disciplinary action, the deputy grabbed the child and “forcibly wrestled” him down to the floor.

The claim states Jacquot “repeatedly slammed J.D. face down onto the floor of the conference room, causing multiple bleeding facial injuries.” 

Bodycam footage shows the deputy holding the boy’s arms crisscrossed behind his back with his face to the floor.

As the boy is being smushed into the floor, the video shows J.D. struggling to breathe, crying uncontrollably, and begging for the officer to stop.

“Bite me, bite me again,” the deputy says, as the boy yelps in pain, “Owww, owww, owww. I won’t.”

“No, you just bit me. So, you want to try this again?” Jacquot asks the child.

The bodycam is blurred as the officer continues berating the boy, who is already restrained on the floor. The boy cries out, “I’m sorry, owww.”

“Put your legs down,” the deputy barks.

“Owww, I give up,” the boy says while the deputy snaps orders at him to cross his legs.

When J.D. asks Jacquot to let him go, the officer says, “No, no, you don’t get to win this now. It’s all me. Do you understand me? And guess where it’s going now. You just tried biting me. I should be taking you to jail for assault on a peace officer.

After hearing the threat of jail, the 8-year-old whimpers, “I give up.”

“I had to put my hands on you,” Jacquot says toward the end of the video, “because you started kicking me. I put you on the floor. Then you decided to try and bite me.”

He stated again to the child, “If you were an adult, you would be in handcuffs and out in my car right now… this is the second time you tried to do something to me because I am trying to control the situation … because you are out of control.”

The partial video shared with the public is 8:44 minutes long and shows him trying to calm the boy down when he seems unable to catch his breath.

In addition to this exchange, Jacquot tells another person that the blood he sees belongs to the boy.

“He bit me right around here. But luckily, I moved. That’s how he got the bloody nose,” he nonchalantly explains before saying once the nurse “frees up,” she needs to come look at his nose.

At the time of the assault, the student was not suspected of any crime, was not under arrest, and did not possess a weapon.

Also, when the boy’s father, Ishmael DeJesus, asked Jacquot why he assaulted the boy, the peace officer answered, “Because, as a law enforcement officer, that’s my primary function,” according to 9 News.

The complaint was filed by attorney Matthew Haltzmann, who pulled data from a written report by the principal.

It named the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office and the deputy, who was working as a school resource officer at the Laramie County School District 1 elementary school on Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, as defendants.

Haltzman says the assault has traumatized the young boy.

“J.D. is still trying to process this and recover what happened to him, and he has nightmares about this. It’s something that has truly changed the person he was, a little boy that was growing up and becoming a third grader,” he said.

“The physical injuries, for the most part, have healed, but the psychological trauma is significant,” Haltzman added. “He is in intensive therapy for treatment on this specific event and how it has impacted his life.”

The attorney also mentioned that J.D.’s family had to move to a different base outside of the state after the incident because the child suffered “serious and continuing psychological injuries” as a result.

Lawyers for the parents state that while the footage is disturbing, there are portions of the assault that were purposely deleted from his camera “in an effort to conceal his wrongdoing.”

As per the lawsuit, the deputy remains employed by the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office. Nevertheless, Laramie County School District 1 has stated that the deputy is no longer assigned as a school resource officer in any of their schools.

Another aspect highlighting the deputy’s actions and underscoring their potential criminality is that Wyoming law explicitly forbids the use of prone restraint in schools.

The family wants to take the case to trial, hoping the officer is held accountable.

“They want to know,” the lawyer said, “that this will never happen to another child in Wyoming again.”

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