Miami police officer suspended after handcuffing 5-year-old boy at school

Child's father says Officer Paul Gourrier handcuffed his son, pulled boy's ear

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor
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MIAMI - A Miami father is outraged after a police officer pulled his 5-year-old son's ear and handcuffed him at Eneida Harter Elementary School.

According to a newly released internal affairs report, the incident happened Feb. 9 after the kindergartner bit another student while they were fighting over a toy.

The boy's father, Hector Feliciano, told police that the school notified him of the incident, and he told them he would discipline his son when he got home.

However, Feliciano said Officer Paul Gourrier decided to take matters into his own hands.

According to the report, school counselor Margarita Fernandez told police that she and Gourrier met with the boy after his teacher, Michelle Svayg, brought him to her office.

Police said Svayg claimed that the boy had been picking on the other student and had previously injured the child's lip.

Fernandez claimed that the boy continued to play around in her office "as if everything was a joke."

Police said Fernandez said that she did not see Gourrier pull the boy's ear, but said Gourrier asked the boy if he knew what could happen to him if he continued to attack other students.

She said the boy said, "No," and Gourrier replied, "Let me show you. I'm going to show you what happens so that you can understand."

Fernandez said Gourrier walked the boy out of her office in handcuffs and returned with him about two minutes later. She said the boy was not handcuffed when he returned to her office.

A security guard at the school said she saw Gourrier walk the handcuffed boy to the front door of the school and point at his police cruiser, explaining that if his bad behavior continued, he could go to jail.

She said the officer spoke with the boy for a minute or two and returned to the counselor's office.

According to the report, Gourrier admitted to handcuffing the boy and to "tugging" on his ear to get his attention.

Because of his admission, internal affairs investigations found the allegation of misconduct against Gourrier to be substantiated.

The report said Gourrier's actions were in violation of numerous city of Miami departmental orders, including unnecessary force, conduct unbecoming a police officer and improperly dealing with juveniles.

Gourrier was suspended from work without pay for 20 hours, effective June 24.

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