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Deputies: Daycare worker arrested on child abuse charges for using 'extreme force' on a non-verbal child with autism

The Citrus County Sheriff's Office says the employee claimed to have been frustrated that day.
Credit: Citrus County Sheriff's Office

CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. — A Citrus County daycare employee for children with special needs is behind bars for the way she forcefully grabbed, pulled and restrained a child in her care, according to a law enforcement press release.

The Citrus County Sheriff's Office said it was dispatched on a complaint of alleged child abuse by 43-year-old Amber Summers, who is accused of "being physically aggressive towards an autistic and non-verbal juvenile."

Deputies say surveillance video obtained by the sheriff's office's Special Victims Unit shows Summers using "extreme force" against the child. In that video, investigators say she can be seen grabbing the child by the arms, using her leg to move them around the play area, pushing their head into a wall and grabbing them by the neck while forcing them to the floor.

Witnesses also attested to the actions caught on camera, according to authorities.

The sheriff's office tracked down Summers and showed her the footage and they say she agreed that her actions were aggressive and that "she had been frustrated that day."

Summers was fired from her job and is charged with child abuse. The Department of Children and Families is also conducting its own investigation.

"Summers entered a profession where her sole purpose was to provide care and comfort for patients, and in this case precious children with special needs. Instead, she chose to take out her frustrations on a child that cannot even speak to tell anyone of the abuse," Sheriff Mike Prendergast said. 

If you witness child abuse, you can report it to the Florida Department of Children and Families at 1-800-962-2873.

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