Video leaked to a Georgia website shows 13-year-old student Montravious Thomas being carried by a mental health counselor after he was allegedly body-slammed to ground, contradicting the district's earlier account that he was up walking around after the incident.
Thomas later had his right leg amputated below the knee.
The incident occurred on Sept. 12 at the Edgewood Student Services Center in Columbus, an alternative school for students temporarily removed from their school district for rules violations.
According to a police report reviewed by BuzzFeed News, Bryant Mosley, the counselor, who is a contract worker, “physically restrained” Thomas “due to behavioral issues” after he tried to leave a classroom. Thomas’s family and attorney claim that during the incident Mosley slammed Thomas to the ground, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported.
The family’s attorney, Renee Tucker, said that after the incident Thomas was complaining about numbness in his leg to school staff. She said the staff failed to call an ambulance and instead carried Thomas to a bus and sent him home.
Thomas’s mother said he was struggling to walk when he got home so she called for an ambulance. He was then taken to the hospital where he underwent multiple surgeries on his leg before it was amputated.
In a statement last week, the Muscogee County school district said Thomas was “up and walking and not in distress.” But in video obtained by Allongeorgia.com, Thomas can be seen being carried by Mosley. At one point, Mosley puts Thomas down but then picks him up again when it is clear that he cannot put weight on his leg.
AllonGeorgia.com gave BuzzFeed News permission to republish the video.
After viewing the video, Tucker told BuzzFeed News it “confirms what we knew all along. He had an inability to put weight on his leg.”
“The fact is that none of those adults had the capacity or conscience to get this child help,” Tucker said.
When BuzzFeed News contacted the Muscogee County school district about the video, spokesperson Valerie Fuller gave an updated statement refuting the claims that the video shows definitive proof that Thomas was not walking after the incident, stating: “The video posted by 'allongeorgia' reports to show a brief segment in time at the front of the school.”
“The video is obviously an incomplete picture of the events of the afternoon and is not inconsistent with the information previously released by District that the student was walking after the administration of the restraint,” Fuller said.
Fuller added that that video was not released by the Muscogee County school district. “The video of the student at school is an educational record the District cannot release to the public pursuant to federal law.”
Fuller said Mosley is not presently working at the school or in the school district. The school district's attorney, who is representing Mosley, referred comment to the district spokesperson.
On Mosley’s actions, Fuller said, “It is our understanding that there were issues concerning the safety of the child and others in the room, which called for the use of restraint per state guidance.”
She said that the district cannot comment further on what happened in the classroom as the investigation is ongoing. The Columbus Police Department is also investigating the incident.
Tucker says she has requested the full video from the school district but it has yet to comply.
She told BuzzFeed News Friday that the family is “looking at our options” for how to obtain more video in this case, including petitioning the state’s attorney general to get involved.