DENVER – Eight-year-old Aidan Elliott had thrown a TV and chairs at his Colorado elementary school and was trying to use a cart to bust through a door to an office where teachers and other students fled for safety.
No one could calm the boy, not even the staff in a program for children with behavior problems like him. So they called police, who had intervened with Elliott twice before.
Police found him with a foot-long piece of wood trim with a knifelike point in one hand and a cardboard box in the other.
Using an expletive, the boy dared them to come get him.
When they couldn’t calm him down, one squirted Elliott with pepper spray. He blocked it with the cardboard box.
A second squirt hit the youngster in the side of the head, and down he went, according to an account of the Feb. 22 standoff in a police report first obtained by KUSA-TV.
After hitting him with the second squirt, officers took Elliott outside for some fresh air to help dissipate the spray. Paramedics were treating his red, irritated face with cool water when his mother arrived.
Elliott and his mother went on national talk shows Wednesday to say using pepper spray on an unruly 8-year-old was too much.
Police and officials at Glennon Heights Elementary in Lakewood, Colo., say it could’ve been worse.
“Had the officers chosen to be hands-on with him, the potential for him getting some type of injury and, maybe even officers, would have been much higher,” police spokesman Steve Davis said.
“It was the best choice made,” he said.
It wasn’t the first time officers had been called to pacify Elliott, Davis said. They’d been able to talk him down in two other incidents.
On Wednesday, Mandy Elliott said she wished authorities had chosen to talk him down. She also wanted police to get special training in dealing with children.
Aidan Elliott has since transferred schools.