BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A child with autism, who is 11 years old but has the mindset of a 6-year-old, was punched by a paraprofessional in his 50s, in a vividly violent video captured at a Brooklyn school.
“It is is very clear that the paraprofessional went at him. Pow!” attorney Sanford Rubenstein said, not pulling any punches when describing what played out in the footage.
During a news conference Monday, Rubenstein said there was no excuse for the incident involving Anatoly Veltman.
“It is outrageous and unacceptable for a school paraprofessional to punch an 11-year-old autistic child,” Rubenstein said.
The incident occurred on Aug. 7, 2014, in the cafeteria at P.S. 225. The paraprofessional who threw the punch is Milton Parker. The woman who protects the child afterwards is Brenda Rodriguez, the boy’s personal aide.
Rubenstein shared a Department of Education document in which Rodriguez says she did not see a punch, adding that all she saw was a “commotion” between the two.
“It’s clear when you look at the video, that she was looking at the paraprofessional who punched this young man when it happened,” Rubenstein said. “So obviously it appears that she is not truthful.”
The boy’s father Anatoly Veltman Sr. shared what his son looked like in the ER shortly after the punch was thrown.
“I saw a huge blue bruise above his eye and it was clear to me that he was punched with force and somebody tells me then that it was in fact the paraprofessional assigned to children’s safety,” he said.
Asked what was his reaction, he simply said, “I wouldn’t believe it.”
The story was first reported by the New York Daily News.
Parker, the paraprofessional caught on camera hitting the child, told the Daily News it was a “reflex” response after the boy hit him first.
“Who gets hit and doesn’t respond?” Parker told the news outlet. “The kid punched me in the eye first and as a reflex he got hit back.”
The Daily News reports Parker is representing himself in the suit and believes he can prove his argument.
“I knew it was on camera,” he told the News. “If it was intentional, I would have taken him to another room and beaten the snot out of him.”
Parker pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault last spring.
Rubenstein said getting information in the civil matter has been challenging, creating what he described in the following manner: “We’ve heard of the blue wall of silence, now we have the chalkboard wall of silence.”