JOPLIN, Mo. -- The Justice Department has ended its investigation into how police handled the arrest of an 11-year-old boy, and police chief Kevin Lindsey said he was told no further federal action is planned.
Lindsey announced the decision in a statement issued Friday, saying the two officers were "exonerated of criminal violations in the civil rights complaint." Police and the boy's family were notified by separate letters a day earlier.
But an attorney for the boy's family said the letter did not go so far as to exonerate the officers.
"The report didn't incriminate anybody. It didn't absolve anybody," said the attorney, William Fleischaker. "It said they wouldn't get involved."
Fleischaker said he had not expected continued federal interest in the case because the boy was not injured.
The FBI opened an investigation in June into the boy's arrest, which took place at an elementary school in November 2004. The probe wrapped up last month, with the findings sent to the Civil Rights Division in Washington.
Friday's announcement did not contain any new information about the case, prompting The Joplin Globe to file a Freedom of Information Act request seeking the Civil Rights Division's files on the case.
The boy's family and school officials have said he was arrested and handcuffed at the school several days after being in a confrontation with Officer Charles Ward's son outside a Joplin movie theater.
According to their account, Ward went to the school to question the boy and then called Ron Buchanan, the school's Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer. Buchanan continued to question the boy before handcuffing and arresting him.
The boy's family sent letters to the city in February, prompting an internal police investigation that did not lead to criminal charges against the officer. Lindsey said the two were disciplined internally, and both wrote letters of apology to the boy.
Jane Karns, the boy's mother, said in April that she was not satisfied with the apologies.
City Attorney Brian Head said talks are ongoing between Fleischaker and another attorney hired by the city, but he declined to be more specific.
Fleischaker also confirmed the talks but would not say whether the two sides are working on a financial settlement.