Community members of a San Diego suburb are outraged after a video capturing a high school resource officer slamming a 17-year-old Black female teen to the ground went viral over the weekend.
In the video, the teen is rolled over the officer’s shoulder twice and slammed to the ground. The officer is also shown using his body to pin the teen to the ground. The unnamed student is a senior at Helix Charter High School, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Helix Charter is located in La Mesa, California, just nine miles east of San Diego.
She received minor abrasions, according to local outlet KPBS and was examined by a paramedic who determined no treatment would be administered.
The officer has not received disciplinary action but was transferred to the investigations division while the case remains under review, KPBS reports.
On Monday over 100 Helix Charter High students and supporting community members walked out in protest, rebuking the officer’s use of excessive force. Students demanded full transparency into the investigation as the La Mesa Police Department begins their review.
Mahamed Ezana, a sophomore at Helix, said the following at Monday’s gathering according to the Union-Tribune: “She did not pose a threat to any single person, and if we don’t stand up and say that this is not okay then no one else is going to do this for us. We’re saying to La Mesa P.D. that this kind of violence is unacceptable. They must implement de-escalation policies and have restorative justice in our schools and across our city.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, the incident took place on January around when a school resource officer was called to escort the teen off campus.
In an interview with the Union-Tribune, La Mesa Police Chief Walt Vasquez said the student was twice asked to leave campus, but refused. Police were called to escort the young woman, who was suspended. The responding officer arrived, handcuffed the student and walked her towards the school’s front office. Vasquez says that during the walk, the student became “non-compliant” and tried to pull away from the officer when he forced her to the ground.
But a close family friend of the student says the police gave an inaccurate account of what transpired.
Aeiramique Blake, a close friend of the teen’s family and a local activist, told the Times that the teen was sent to in-school suspension for tardiness when she informed the instructor that she was not feeling well. After explaining that she suffers from anemia, the instructor accused the student of drug use and ordered to search her backpack. The student complied and though no drugs were found, the teacher did recover pepper spray. According to Blake’s account, the instructor said pepper spray was deemed a weapon and asked the student to leave campus. The student refused to exit the classroom, calling the teacher’s actions discriminatory.
Blake’s younger sister also attends Helix High School and was one of the students who recorded the incident, the Times reports.
School officials did not provide additional details on the incident citing student privacy concerns, but released a statement to KPBS which said, “actions taken by the school are guided by what is lawful and in the best interests of Helix Charter High School students, staff and school community.”