Darryl Blue, 48, of Fort Lauderdale "maliciously punished" a middle school student by choking him with a safety harness on Oct. 9, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office. In newly released surveillance video, the 13-year-old autistic boy repeatedly cries out "You're hurting me" as Blue pulls the harness against him from behind. His mother, Bertis Paulino, and BSO spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright spoke about the case.
A 13-year-old autistic boy repeatedly cried out “You’re hurting me” as a Broward County school bus assistant pulled a safety harness against him from behind, newly released surveillance video shows.
The assistant, identified by authorities as Darryl Blue, told the middle school student “Don’t put your hand on me” multiple times. The boy, who urinated in his pants, touched his urine before reaching back and trying to touch Blue with his hands, according to a Broward Sheriff’s Office complaint affidavit.
But Blue, 48, of Fort Lauderdale “maliciously punished” the student by choking him with the harness on Oct. 9, the BSO said in its affidavit. It said that Blue, who was sitting one seat behind, abused the boy for almost the entire 54-minute period captured on video on the bus.
On Friday the BSO released excerpts from the video totaling 5 minutes and 17 seconds.
Later on in the video, Blue appeared to pull on the harness while telling the student to put his hand down. The student screamed over and over that it hurt. But Blue said, “I’m not touching him, I’m fine.”
Then, at 4:47 p.m., Blue said while choking the student, “He won’t do that to me every day. He won’t be this color when he go home,” the video shows. Blue added that he would be “raspberry” as other people on the bus laughed.
The student had small bruises on his neck after the episode, according to the affidavit.
At 4:58 p.m., a woman identified by the BSO as the bus driver told Blue to “loosen up.”
“I ain’t choking him,” he replied. She told him that he was and he said he wasn’t, as the boy kept yelling.
The boy's outraged mother, Bertis Paulino, said the experience was so traumatic that her son is now terrified.
"He's acting out. He’s afraid. He’s afraid of me. Sometimes I come up to him and he goes like this, like I’m going to hit him," Paulino said, holding up her arms to shield her face.
“I have given my son a very good life, and now his life is shattered," she added.
He wasn't riding on his normal bus route that day, according to the BSO.
Blue was arrested for aggravated child abuse on Wednesday, the affidavit said. It is not known if he has an attorney.
“During questioning, he did admit to being too tough with the child, but he also told our detective that 'I never touched him,'" BSO spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright said.
Blue has been reassigned within the Transportation Department to a position away from students pending the outcome of the investigation, a school district spokesperson said Thursday.