Mother in court for homeschooling mix-up arrested during police scuffle

Posted at 1:47 PM, Apr 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-12 23:05:02-04

Single mother Kiarre Harris will get her kids back this week, despite being arrested at Erie County Family Court Wednesday, her attorney says.

Harris was one of two people arrested during a hearing at Family Court. Director of Public Information with New York State Courts Lucian Chalfen says Kiarre Harris – who was in court for a hearing to get her children back from CPS and Demone Henderson, a Harris supporter were arrested after a scuffle with police.

Chalfen says Henderson was passing out a t-shirts reading “Hands off Harris Children” outside the courtroom. Officers realized Henderson had an outstanding Family Court warrant and was placed under arrested. Chalfen says when he resisted he was pepper sprayed.

"All of a sudden this door cracked open and we saw this gentleman being severely assaulted by officers," said Harris supporter Duncan Kirkwood.

During the struggle between Henderson and police, Harris allegedly put her hands on a court officer. Henderson has been charged with obstruction of government administration while Harris is facing the same charge.

"I guess they were saying she put her hand out to stop another officer from jumping in and beating up her friend, that's the most of what she could have possibly done in that instance," said Matt Alberts, the attorney representing Kiarre Harris. 

Harris says the County took her children away because they were absent from school during the time she was homeschooling them. Harris filed Federal Civil Rights suits against Erie County and Buffalo Public Schools, arguing that their policies discriminate against African Americans. 

Her attorney says despite the turn of events outside the courtroom, Harris  will regain custody of her children after two supervised and two unsupervised visits. They're hoping to have the kids back by the end of the week.

Harris will be arraigned in Buffalo City Couty Thursday at 9:30 a.m.