NAACP Branch 3049 of Fort Wayne and Allen County said it is bringing in lawyers from out of state and plans to file with the Department of Justice over “the alleged abuse” of an 8-year-old boy at a Parkview Health mental health facility earlier this year.
“I don’t know how any person with a child or that knows a child would think that a child did this to themselves,” said Shanita Redd, who described what she said happened May 1 when she visited her son, Malachi, at Parkview Behavioral Health. “...Malachi worked with Parkview, Park Center, all of those places before,” Redd said. “There’s no records of him injuring himself.”
Redd, who is the granddaughter of Charles Redd, a former City Council member and community activist, said Malachi was in a “seclusion room” after a staff member called her to ask for permission to sedate him because he was being aggressive and she denied the request. Malachi, who has an autism diagnosis, was taken to the health facility after making suicidal statements to a Fort Wayne Police Department Crisis Intervention Team officer, Redd said. When she saw injuries on his face that included one eye nearly swollen shut and asked him what happened, he said a staff member, whom he described, “banged his head into the wall,” she said.
Despite the injuries seen on the boy’s face in photos that Redd showed reporters at a news conference June 28 at the NAACP, 2513 S. Calhoun St., the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office said it has not been shown any proof of a crime and Parkview Health said an Indiana Department of Child Services worker found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of an employee. She filed a report with Parkview’s police department and took her son home.
Parkview Health, in a written statement, said the employee involved acted appropriately.
Parkview Health issued this statement in a request from Business Weekly for comment regarding the NAACP’s complaint:
“Following a complaint at Parkview Behavioral Health in May, thorough internal and external investigations were conducted.
“Parkview’s internal investigation determined the co-worker involved followed appropriate protocols. Per our policy, we also contacted the Indiana Department of Child Services, whose Institutional Child Protection Services Unit investigated the matter.
“Additionally, in the interest of transparency, Parkview Police and Public Safety asked the Fort Wayne Police Department to conduct an investigation, which was ultimately handed over to the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office and no criminal charges have been filed.
“For the privacy of the co-worker and patient involved, we are unable to share any more details.”
Redd said, “I want to hold them all accountable. Everybody who has something to do with this.”
“He’s the aggressive one, he’s the one doing the kicking and the biting, is that his punishment?” said Larry Gist, president of the local NAACP branch.
Redd said she has heard from parents who have experienced similar incidents with their children — though she did not gives specifics.
Gist said the NAACP would like to hear from anyone who has had similar issues with Parkview so the cases can be investigated. The office can be reached at 260-515-1140.