The attorney for the parent of an 8-year-old Ohio boy who died by suicide has accused his school of failing to tell his mother that he had been assaulted in a bathroom just two days before he took his life in January.
Video surveillance reviewed by a homicide detective with the Cincinnati police force allegedly shows little Gabriel Taye being knocked unconscious by students at Carson Elementary School on Jan. 24, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported on Thursday.
The child was described in a police report by Detective Eric Karaguleff as being kicked and hit by other children for five minutes while lying unconscious on the ground. The school’s assistant principal, Jeff McKenzie, is then seen rushing into the room.
Attorney Jennifer Branch, who is representing Gabriel’s mother, told Fox 19 News, that this new report contradicts what school officials originally told Gabriel’s mother, Cornelia Reynolds.
“Mom is called, and she’s told that he fainted,” Branch said. After Gabriel reported stomach pain, his mother took him to a hospital for what was believed to be a stomach flu, she added.
Speaking to the local WLWT back in January, Reynolds said her son never mentioned being bullied. Two days later she found her son hanging in his bedroom.
“Maybe this had been going on for years, and she had no idea, so she couldn’t help him,” Branch told Fox 19 News. “She couldn’t protect him, and now she wants to know what was really going on.”
In a statement released by Cincinnati Public Schools on Thursday, school officials confirmed that Gabriel was found “motionless” in a bathroom but they denied the assault allegations.
School officials said that the detective who described the alleged attack in the Enquirer’s report “mischaracterized the events in the video.”
“The article suggests that other students were beating Gabriel during this incident, a description that video evidence does not support. The article also portrays other students in the video as ‘aggressors.’ Video evidence does not support this characterization,” school officials said.
As of Thursday afternoon, the video has not been released to the public or the media, making it unclear what exactly happened. The school district said it will release the footage after it’s able to ensure the privacy of any students featured in the video.
A request for comment from Cincinnati police on the video’s content was not immediately returned on Thursday.
In a statement, Branch’s office stood by the assault allegations, stating: “We trust the opinion of a Cincinnati Police Detective.”