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Mom of Mississippi 10-year-old arrested and given probation for urinating in public files suit against police

The suit accuses defendants in Senatobia, Mississippi, of excessive force, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

A Black child in Mississippi who urinated in public had his civil rights violated when he was arrested and sentenced to probation, his family said in a federal lawsuit that seeks $2 million.

Quantavious Eason, who is now 11, was a 10-year-old third-grader when Senatobia police arrested him Aug. 10 after an officer saw him relieving himself next to his mother’s car while she was inside an attorney’s office.

The suit filed Wednesday in federal court in Mississippi alleges excessive force, intentional infliction of emotional distress, failure to train and supervise, false arrest and malicious prosecution.

The child's mother, Latonya Eason, is named as the plaintiff. Named as defendants are the city of Senatobia, its police chief Richard Chandler, the arresting officer who is no longer with the force, and four officers who were not named.

Representatives with the city and police could not be immediately reached Thursday afternoon for comment. Chandler could not be reached, either.

The officer who saw the 10-year-old urinating did not arrest the child; another officer made the arrest of the child, who was held in a jail cell for up to an hour, the lawsuit said.

The child's family's attorney, Carlos Moore, who discussed the lawsuit Thursday at a news conference, said race was a factor in how his client was treated, beginning with his arrest and again in court.

“I'm 99.99 percent sure that had this been a young boy who happened to be white ... he would have never been arrested,” Moore said Thursday afternoon during a phone call.

He said the student and his mother “have suffered like no other ... for doing something so commonplace.”

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From left, attorney Carlos Moore, Quantavious Eason and Latonya Eason.Courtesy Latonya Eason

There was no public restroom at the attorney’s office, Moore said. Quantavious did not expose himself and did what any reasonable child would have done, Moore had said. Officers arrested Quantavious, put him in a squad car and took him to the police station, Moore and the child's family had said.

He was charged in youth court with being a child in need of supervision, Moore has said.

The child was required to check in with a probation officer once a month for three months. Tate County Youth Court Judge Rusty Harlow in December oversaw a sentence that included probation and required Quantavious to write a two-page report about Kobe Bryant.

child arrest
10-year-old Quantavious Eason being arrested by Senatobia police in Mississippi on Aug. 10.Courtesy Latonya Eason

Earlier this month, Harlow dismissed the youth court petition that sought to designate Quantavious as in need of supervision, Moore said.

In an August statement posted on the police departments Facebook page, Chandler, the police chief, appeared to comment on the child’s arrest.

“Several of our officers were recently involved in an incident that involved a ten-year-old juvenile. The officer’s decisions violated our written policy and went against our prior training on how to deal with these situations,” the statement said.

Chandler also said one of the officers was no longer employed at the department, the other would be disciplined, and the department would have mandatory juvenile training “just as we do every year.”

The lawsuit seeks a jury trial.