Attorney discusses viewing video of incident that allegedly led to leg amputation
The attorney representing the boy whose leg was amputated after he was allegedly thrown to the floor by a behavioral specialist said she viewed a 25-minute surveillance video on Monday showing a portion of the Sept. 12 incident.
Attorney Renee Tucker said the Muscogee County School District’s attorney showed the video to her and attorney Forest Johnson, though they declined to release the footage of the incident at Edgewood Student Services Center. The video shows 13-year-old Montravious Thomas being slammed to the ground five times and behavioral specialist Bryant Mosley straddling him with the child’s body in the prone position and his face turned, Johnson said.
“He’s on top on a terrazzo floor or concrete floor of some sort, but that’s what he’s thrown to,” said Johnson, who said three school officials witnessed the incident.
Johnson said Edgewood assistant principal Eddie Powell, whom police identified as a witness, entered the room when the student was on the floor being restrained.
Johnson said the video, which reportedly doesn’t include audio, shows Columbus Police Lt. Consuelo Askew entering the room and leaving about 1 minute later. Tucker said she had planned to meet with Askew Monday afternoon to discuss the incident, and police have informed her that it is under investigation.
A story, posted by retired Ledger-Enquirer columnist Richard Hyatt to the community website All on Georgia, contains information from a report allegedly filed by Mosley after he restrained Thomas. The teen was “spitting, cursing and making threats,” Hyatt wrote, and “grabbed the handle of a dustpan and began to swing it wildly.”
Johnson said he saw Thomas grab a dustpan in the video, but he didn’t see him swing it at anyone.
“From what we saw, he grabbed the dustpan, but it doesn’t look like he swung it at anyone,” Johnson said. “He grabbed the dustpan, and they took the dustpan from him while he was on the ground.”
Johnson said the footage they saw for the first time on Monday doesn’t show a portion of the All on Georgia video in which Mosley is allegedly carrying Thomas and then throwing him over his shoulder before loading him onto a school bus.
“All we have is him carrying the child through the hallways,” Johnson said. “The question becomes, ‘Can the child stand on his own?’ When you look at the video that everyone has access to, it’s pretty obvious that the child can’t stand on his own, but that part of the video is not there.”
Tucker said the school didn’t tell the boy’s mother about the incident after it happened. She said they also transported him home on the bus without providing any medical assistance.
Valerie Fuller, director of communications for the MCSD, said the school made “multiple attempts” to contact the teen’s parent by phone after the incident. She also said “witnesses indicate that the child was up and walking and not in distress following the administered restraint.”
Johnson said it was “troubling” that they didn’t view the “complete video,” and he addressed that with the school board’s attorney. Johnson said the attorney told him that it was all that his client had given him, and he would ask for any additional footage of the incident that may be available.
“Hopefully, they’ll get us the complete video and that video will match the video that everyone has seen so far,” Johnson said. “That’s what we’re looking for.”
Tucker said she sent the Muscogee County School District an ante litem notice “that had a number of $5 million” before the amputation. An ante litem notice is required when someone intends to file a lawsuit against a governmental agency. She said she also plans to sue Mosley and MBS.
She said she hasn’t decided the exact amount they plan to seek, but she says hospital bills will be taken into consideration.
“You can figure that if the child is in the hospital for two months at Egleston, that bill is going to probably be in the high ($800,000) or $1 million plus,” said Johnson, who owns the law firm where Tucker is employed.
Johnson said the hospital bill won’t be the only expenses they’ll be keeping in mind while filing the lawsuit.
“You’ll have to adjust to having a situation where you have to deal with no leg,” Johnson said of Thomas. “For a 13-year-old boy, that’s just not easy so there will be a lifelong expense. Because as he grows, he’s going to need different prosthetic devices.”