Surveillance video released Monday shows a special needs teacher charged with child abuse physically disciplining a boy with autism, police say.
The video from July 2012 shows an incident between David Baier, a former teacher at the Alternative Education Foundation in Davie, and the 12-year-old boy. The incident happened after the student was put in Baier's care because he was misbehaving on a school field trip.
During the field trip, Davie police said the student became upset after being told he couldn't participate without tying his shoe. He reportedly pushed his shoe in the face of Baier and another staff member and called Baier names.
The boy then crouched and Baier told him to stand again. The boy refused to get up, and Baier grabbed the boy by his hair on the top of his head and pulled him into a standing position, said police.In the video, the boy was taken to Baier's classroom as punishment, where he was seen fidgeting. Baier instructed the student to stand, and told the student he could get his chair back if he stood still for five minutes, said police.
After being told to sit, Baier and the boy began discussing his behavior on the field trip. Baier was seen walking over in the video and threatening to throw the boy to the ground, said police.
Baier then grabbed the boy by his hair, pulled him from the chair, threw him to the ground, and pinned him down, said police. Baier then told the boy to get back into his chair.
Police said the boy never appeared physical or violent despite his verbal outburst.
Police arrested Baier one month later and charged him with two counts of child abuse. He was arrested again in April after more parents accused him of abusing their children.
Eias Hilal, an attorney representing the 12-year-old boy, issued a statement, saying: "All these allegations that we have brought forward have merit. We look forward to bringing the truth to the forefront."
Baier said little when he was released from jail. His wife told Local 10 there was more to the story, but wouldn't elaborate.
Steven Swickle, Baier's attorney, issued a statement, saying: "I believe the video is incomplete, and that it doesn't give the full picture of this particular child nor of this incident. This matter will be fully explored during the course of the trial."