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Charges Dropped In Bowling Brook Case
Courtesy of WJZ - Baltimore
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There's outrage from the family of Isaiah Simmons, the teen who died at the Bowling Brook Preparatory School. This after a judge drops the charges against the employees accused of causing his death.
Word came late Tuesday afternoon that a judge dismissed all charges against five Bowling Brook counselors who were in the room when Isaiah Simmons died.
Mary Bubala has reaction from both sides.
Candles burned near pictures of 17-year-old Isaiah Simmons. All that remains of the
teen are memories and mementos.
Simmons lost consciousness while being restrained by counselors at Bowling Brook Prepatory School last January and though his death was ruled a homicide, all charges related to it have been dropped against the
counselors who were in the room, holding him down as he choked to death.
"The whole family is outraged because they're not being punished for what they did. They tortured him for over two hours," said his mother, Felicia Wilson.
The counselors were charged with reckless endangerment, not manslaughter, based on documents that show they didn't call 911 for nearly 40 minutes after Simmons stopped breathing.
"They've said since day one that we felt this one charge that the grand jury indicted them on was unconstitutional and again we're just excited that the court has agreed with us," said defense attorney Jason Shoemaker.
911 tapes obtained by Eyewitness News shortly after Simmons' death gave insight into his final moments.
"[The restraints weren't too tight.] We're trained in that. It's the same thing we do all the time when we have an aggressive kid," the tape said.
Bowling Brook was shut down in the weeks following Simmons' death. Just last week, his family held a rally to pressure prosecutors to pursue manslaughter charges.
"His life was taken. It was not just endangered. Therefore, more serious charges are warranted," said Danielle Carter, Isaiah's sister.
Wilson says she's devastated by the judge's decision but she's determined to continue her quest for justice.
"I'm hoping that the Justice Department will file criminal charges against them for using excess force on a child while he was in state custody," she said.
The Justice Department has been monitoring the case but has said they didn't plan to get involved until the charges against the counselors were resolved.
In a statement to Eyewitness News, a spokesperson for Bowling Brook Prep called Simmons' death a tragedy but that they were confident all along that the counselors had not engaged in criminal activity.
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