INVERNESS, Fla. - Amber Summers, 43, of Inverness, is facing child abuse charges after Citrus County deputies say she was captured on camera using extreme force on an autistic, non-verbal child while working at a daycare that provides services for children with special needs.
According to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, surveillance video from the daycare shows Summers grabbing the victim by the arms, and at times using her leg to move the victim around the play area. She is also seen grabbing the victim by the back of the neck while forcing him to the floor. The video also shows her pushing the victim's head into a wall as she attempts to restrain him behind a table. Anytime other facility staff are visible in the footage, Summers quickly deescalates her behavior towards the victim, according to CCSO.
A witness told detectives that she saw Summers grab the victim roughly by the arm several times and had to intervene because Summers was being overly aggressive. A second witness told detectives she saw Summers grab the victim by the neck and force him to the floor.
When detectives showed Summers the footage, they say she agreed that her actions were aggressive and said she was frustrated that day. She was arrested and has a $2,000 bond.
"Summers entered a profession where her sole purpose was to provide care and comfort for patients, and in this case precious children with special needs. Instead, she chose to take out her frustrations on a child that cannot even speak to tell anyone of the abuse," said Sheriff Mike Prendergast. "Again, the detectives with the Special Victims Unit continue to seek justice for the children of Citrus County. Hopefully, the victim's family has a sense of peace knowing the victim is safe again and that Summers cannot hurt another child."
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Department of Health (DOH), who oversees the licensing of healthcare workers, are also investigating the incident.
Child abuse can be reported by calling the Florida Department of Children and Families at 1-800-962-2873.