BRADENTON, Fla. (FOX 13) - Bradenton police charged a Manatee County Schools teacher’s aide with child abuse after security camera video showed him allegedly hitting a child with autism in the face several times during recess.
Detectives said the video showed 40-year-old Quintin Bradley throwing a bouncy ball four times at a nonverbal 5-year-old boy with autism in the playground of G.D. Rogers Garden Elementary School in Bradenton on February 4. The force of the impact caused the child’s head to hit the fence, police said. The video shows Bradley allegedly pretending to throw the ball a fifth time.
“I’m a parent of small children. I was disgusted, angry, shocked,” said Capt. Brian Thiers of the Bradenton Police Department. “We put faith in our teachers. We put faith in the people who watch our children.”
Detectives got a tip from the state’s child abuse hotline on February 7. They immediately went to the school to investigate and arrested Bradley.
“He did subsequently confess to hitting the child in the face with the ball. His initial statements, and I’ll paraphrase is, ‘I did it because he wouldn’t stop crying,’” said Thiers.
Police are investigating if another teacher saw what happened and failed to report the abuse.
“At this phase in our investigation, we are looking at another teacher that was present during the event. She is in the video. She is seen in the video near the child,” said Thiers.
He added that it is a felony offense for a teacher to see child abuse and not report it.
According to the arrest report, the assistant principal told police about other times Bradley allegedly flicked a child’s head with no apparent reason and mocked a child with a stutter.
A Manatee County Schools spokesperson sent FOX13 the following statement from the district’s attorney Mitchell Teitelbaum: “As soon as the allegations were brought to the attention of the District, Mr. Bradley and [the teacher] were immediately removed from any contact with students. The District has and will fully cooperate with law enforcement.”
Bradley told detectives he had worked with special needs children for a year and a half. The school district said Bradley is on paid administrative leave, and the other teacher police are investigating was transferred to a position where she won’t be around children.
Bradley will have an arraignment hearing before a judge on March 8.