The mom of a 10-year-old boy received the shock of her life recently: a phone call from her local juvenile court, explaining that her son would be charged with aggravated assault, months after a playground game of dodgeball at his Michigan elementary school.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Cameishi Lindley, mother of soon-to-be-fifth-grader Bryce Lindley, told 7 Action News about the call she received on July 24.
Because the boy being punished is Black and the boy who was injured is white, some are calling the incident racist, while others, including celebrity comedian DL Hughley, who called the charge “ridiculous,” are coming to the boy’s general defense.
“Some 10 year olds were playing dodgeball on the playground at school. A white kid got hit with the ball. Then they charged the 10 year old Black child with assault,” tweeted film producer Tariq Nasheed. “This is why we should not prioritize any of these border issues, while our kids are racially targeted.”
The situation began on Apr. 29, when Bryce received a one-day suspension from his Canton Elementary School, for allegedly hitting a classmate in the face with a ball during a game of dodgeball. The child reportedly sustained a concussion, but because it was an accident, Lindley didn’t expect punitive measures against her son Bryce to go any further.
However, the injured child’s mother, who declined to identify herself or her child to the public, says her son had a previous medical condition that made him susceptible to head injuries. She also told 7 Action News that this particular injury was no accident, adding that he “sustained facial tissue damage to his face. He had a black eye and a bruised nose.” She says that her son had already experienced similar incidents while engaging in physical activities at school, and that she “tried not to let it get to this point.”
Wayne County’s assistant prosecuting attorney Maria Miller tells Yahoo Lifestyle, the case “was evaluated by our Juvenile Prosecuting Unit, and it was determined that there was enough evidence to for us to charge aggravated assault.”
Critics have called out the charge as overly harsh and racist:
Lindley has created a fundraiser to assist her with Bryce’s legal fees and they are set to appear in juvenile court on Aug. 1st. She says that neither she nor her son knew about the injured child’s medical condition, nor did they know about the other school incidents, and feels the injured child shouldn’t have been playing a risky game in the first place.
Lindley told the local news station: “This is a kid who was playing on a playground with his friends…I’m sorry that her child got hurt. I’d be sorry for any child that got hurt.”