Exclusive surveillance video recorded on Sept. 12 shows behavioral specialist Bryant Mosley carrying Montravious Thomas down the halls of the Edgewood Student Service Center before throwing the 13-year-old student over his shoulder and loading him into a school bus little more than an hour after the troubled seventh grader suffered a broken leg in an altercation with the former college football player.
Obtained by All On Georgia-Muscogee from sources in the school system, this never-before-seen footage conflicts with a statement released Friday by the Muscogee County School District. According to the news release, witnesses said the youth was not in distress and was walking around after being restrained by Mosley on his first day of class at the local alternative school.
Events in Room 109 are the core of the story.
That he was even there is puzzling. Thomas and another student at East Columbus Magnet Academy were to be relocated to Edgewood Sept. 12. Principal Reginald Griffin sent out a memo the week before questioning whether his school was ready. “We are setting these students up for failure without the proper support/materials,” he wrote on Sept. 8. “There is no way the 12th deadline can be accomplished at the present pace.”
Griffin was on leave on the day of the incident.
In charge of the class was Mosley, a former linebacker at Glenwood School in Phenix City who played two years of college football. He worked for Mentoring and Behavioral Services, a frequent contract provider to the school district. He was trained in MindSet, a system supposed to prevent and manage aggressive behavior.
At Edgewood, he allegedly body-slammed Thomas to the floor three times before the student screamed his leg was hurt. All On Georgia-Muscogee viewed two incident reports Mosley turned in after the incident.
Those signed reports said the student was pacing around the room and picking up items that did not belong to him as well as spitting, cursing and making threats. He tried to leave the room through the door and through a window. Other witnesses said Thomas grabbed the handle of a dustpan and began to swing it wildly.
Mosley tried to calm the student “by talking him out of his behavior.” But as he got more out of control he “wrapped his arms around the student and took him to the ground multiple times.” He referred to that technique as a Horizontal Hold. Following the plan, he held Thomas down for six minutes each time.
On the third time, he held him only 10 seconds, releasing him when Thomas said his leg was hurt. In his report, Mosley said the last restraint ended because of the way he implemented the hold to avoid being hit by what he called a long stick. The document said Thomas’ “right leg was injured possibly.”
The student was moved to a couch or chair. He requested help and an ice bag and towel was provided by Zehra Malone, the school’s testing coordinator and LEA Facilitator. She was in charge of students such as Thomas who were under an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Malone reported that she tried unsuccessfully to get Lawanda Thomas on the telephone.
The next decision was crucial and no record is available that explains why an ambulance was never called. Nor are there indications about who made that decision. So around 3:26 p.m. Mosley — with Malone walking ahead — lifted the student in his arms and carried him up the hall, through the outside doors and to the school bus stop.
When the bus dropped her son off at home, Lawanda Thomas noticed him limping. She checked his leg. His right kneecap was out of place, she said in a TV interview last week. By 3:30 p.m. she had him at the Midtown Medical Center in Columbus.
His leg was broken. Arteries were damaged and his kneecap was dislocated. A helicopter ride to Egleston Children’s Hospital in Atlanta was arranged the night of the incident. His right leg was amputated just below the knee on Oct. 18. Four previous operations had failed to improve the flow of flood to the teenager’s lower leg and foot.
His tragic story was first told on this site on Oct. 13. Since then it has been repeated by news outlets on at least three continents and has inspired scores of comments on Facebook and Twitter. Some responded with sympathy and prayer. Some believed there was more to the story than has been reported. Some questioned the motives of the middle school student’s mother, Lawanda Thomas. The mother of three hired a law firm two days after the incident.
Attorney Renee Tucker of Forrest B. Johnson & Associates — a firm with offices in Columbus, Macon and Atlanta — filed notice of a $5 million lawsuit on Sept. 26. She said she would be amending that figure after surgeons took Thomas’ leg on Oct. 17.
Tucker began her own investigation. As part of the inquiry she filed an Open’s Record Request with the school district on Sept 26. Georgia law calls for a three-day turnaround but school district attorneys have not provided her the mounds of information she requested.
The law firm of Hall Booth Smith represents the school system. Its Columbus office is primarily composed of lawyers from the old Hatcher, Stubbs, Land, Hollis & Rothschild partnership, which represented the district for 65 years until it was dissolved on Dec. 31, 2015.
The school district’s investigation continues, Fuller said. “We will continue the thorough review of the incident to determine all of the facts and to make any necessary recommendations because the safety of all students and all employees is priority.”
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