City of Murfreesboro, others named in child arrest case lawsuit

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – The mother of two children taken into custody by Murfreesboro officers last year has filed a lawsuit against the city, county and others.

This comes one month after an investigation revealed six of 10 Murfreesboro police officers violated departmental policy involving the arrests and handcuffing of several Hobgood Elementary School students.

Fredericka Roper filed the lawsuit in federal court.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Child arrests in Murfreesboro

According to the lawsuit, Ropers’ child was taken out of her classroom on April 15, 2016 and questioned by Murfreesboro city police officers.

The child was placed in handcuffs and taken to the Rutherford County Juvenile Detention Center and held until her mother was able to pick her up.

No warrant was ever issued for the child’s arrest and she was never charged with a crime.

Ropers’ other child was also approached the same day by a Murfreesboro police officer outside his grandmother’s home. The officer questioned him and his friends about their involvement in a fight.

The child told the officer he was playing basketball at the time of the fight and was unaware it happened until someone showed him video of the incident.

He was ultimately charged with criminal responsibility for the conduct of another for the crime of assault, a misdemeanor.

The affidavit stated that the child encouraged the fight.

The child was handcuffed and arrested, placed in the back of a police car and taken to the Rutherford County Juvenile Detention Center, where he was held until his mother picked him up.

The charges against him were ultimately dismissed on July 13.

In her lawsuit, the children’s mother argues the city of Murfreesboro has policy that allows its officers to handcuff and arrest juveniles. That policy goes against Tennessee law, according to the lawsuit.

The law only allows juveniles to be arrested under certain circumstances.

In the case of a misdemeanor, they would have to commit the crime in front of the arresting officer, or the juvenile court issues an arrest order based on safety purposes to prevent the child from absconding.

The mother is suing five police officers from Murfreesboro. The officers are identified as Chrystal Templeton, Chris Williams, Jeff Carroll, Albert Miles and a John Doe.

She’s also suing the city of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County.