Video released Friday shows an 8-year-old Cincinnati boy unconscious on a bathroom floor for several minutes following an incident with classmates at his elementary school.
Gabe Taye would take his own life two days later. A coroner has asked Cincinnati police to treat the suicide “as a homicide until proven otherwise.”
Surveillance video of the disturbing assault, much of which took place after Gabe was knocked unconscious, was released on Friday by the school district.
“There’s enough information here that we would like to reopen the case to look at whether we need to amend the death certificate,” Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco told WLW Radio on Thursday, according to WCPO. “It was very hard for me to believe that an 8-year-old would even know what it means to commit suicide and so I asked Cincinnati police to treat this as a homicide until proven otherwise and investigate it fully.”
The video shows Gabe walking into the bathroom and attempting to shake hands with a classmate. He then goes to the ground motionless, where he remains for 7-1/2 minutes before he is helped. While he was on the ground, other students offered little assistance and can be seen kicking him.
The school district said in a statement Friday that “in an effort to be completely transparent, we are releasing the video that was reviewed as part of an investigation by the Cincinnati Police Department.”
Following the incident, school officials had called the boy’s mother on Jan. 24 and said he had fainted. The mother came to get Gabe after the school called her.
Gabe later vomited and complained of stomach pains, and his mom Cornelia Reynolds took him to a hospital that evening. Doctors said he had a stomach virus and sent him home.
Neither doctors nor the boy’s mother knew what had happened earlier that day at Carson Elementary School. Gabe hanged himself with a necktie in the bedroom of his Cincinnati home two days later.
Cincinnati Public Schools had said that the boy’s mother was asked to pick him up and take him to a hospital “to be checked out.”
“On the eve of Mother’s Day, it is unfortunate that CPS chose to blame Gabe’s mother for not taking him to the hospital after he was injured at school,” the family’s lawyers said in a statement. “No one from CPS told Gabe’s mother that she needed to take him to the hospital. The nurse’s notes verify this.
“In fact, if his mother had been told that Gabe was assaulted and was unconscious for over seven minutes on the bathroom floor, she would have taken him to the hospital and not let him return to Carson,” the lawyers said. “It is helpful that CPS did not deny that Carson officials withheld this vital information from Gabe’s mother.”
Lawyer Carla Leader described Gabe as a “happy-go-lucky kid” who had shown no signs of mental issues. Leader said the boy came home from school on Jan. 26, spoke with his mother and went into his bedroom. She later discovered him hanging from his bunk bed.
With News Wire Services