Video of a handcuffed 17-year-old student at Helix High School in La Mesa, California, being slammed down to the ground by a police officer has led to protests and outrage. You can watch the video above.
The video shows an officer grabbing the 17-year-old girl, who is handcuffed, by the arm and throwing her down onto concrete. He then rolls her over and lifts her up as she lays motionless on the ground. Authorities say she suffered minor abrasions and was evaluated by paramedics, who determined she did not need treatment.
The incident happened about 1:35 p.m. on Friday, January 19, the La Mesa Police Department said in a press release. The girl, who has not been named, was charged with refusing to obey a lawful order to leave school grounds and resisting arrest.
Police said it began about 1:20 p.m. when Helix High School staff called for the school resource officer to remove a student. According to police, the girl “was on suspended status and non-compliant with staff directions to leave the campus. The officer contacted the student and attempted to gain her voluntary compliance to leave, but she refused. The officer then ordered the student to exit the school grounds, and she again refused, in violation of 626.8(a)(1) of the California Penal Code.”
According to the police press release, “The officer arrested and placed the student in handcuffs and began to walk her towards the school office. As they were walking, the student became non-compliant on two separate occasions and made an attempt to free herself by pulling away from the officer. To prevent the student from escaping, the officer forced the student to the ground. After the student agreed to quit resisting and attempting to escape, the officer assisted her up and walked her to his patrol vehicle. She was transported to the La Mesa Police Department.”
Video of the incident was posted on Instagram and Facebook on Saturday by Aeiramique Blake. Her sister attends the school.
“I will be completely shutting down my sisters school Helix High on Monday. ! I do not care what this young lady did,” Blake wrote on Facebook. “This officer had no right to slam her to the ground and she was handcuffed. I’m pissed! The whole school will get shutdown Monday!”
Students walked out of class on Monday to protest.
“We are demanding this officer who slammed a young lady on the concrete while handcuffed, be removed from the school and not allowed to work at any other school for the rest of his career,” Blake wrote on Facebook. “The students of helix high school have a demand list and we will stand with them until their demands are implemented and executed immediately.”
The officer has not been identified.
The La Mesa Police Department said in a statement it is are “aware of and in possession of a video, which depicts the student being taken to the ground. As is protocol with all incidents involving use of force, the La Mesa Police Department will be conducting a detailed review of the force used and of the entire incident. Helix High School officials are also fully aware of the facts surrounding the incident.”
The school district has not commented on the incident.
“He needs to be an officer that sits at a desk,” Aeiramique Blake told KGTV. “An officer that was supposed to be helping and protecting actually harmed our youth. That is unsettling to me.”
According to Fox 5 San Diego, students walked out and gathered near the entrance to the school. One student held a sign saying, “We’re anti-police brutality, not anti-police,” according to the news station.
Blake, who was at the protest, told the news station, “He never needs to work with kids again. We’re tired of police justifying the abuse they do to our youth.”
Speaking on behalf of the family of the girl in the video, Blake told the San Diego Union Tribune that the girl was assigned to an in-school suspension because of tardiness. She told an instructor she wasn’t feeling well and said she was anemic and had experienced similar feelings before, Blake told the newspaper. But the teacher accused the student of using drugs, according to Blake.
Blake told the newspaper that the instructor asked to search her backpack and the girl complied. No drugs were found, but the instructor did find pepper spray in the bag, according to Blake. She said that the student kept it as protection because she takes the trolley from southeast San Diego to the school everyday. According to Blake, the teacher told her that because pepper spray is a weapon, she would have to leave the school.
The girl felt that she was being discriminated against and said she was not going to leave the campus until she felt she was being heard, Blake told the newspaper. The teacher then called police, and Blake said the girl did not resist being handcuffed, but did refused to leave campus. I
“No matter what was done or not done, that was not the appropriate way to handle a young lady,” Blake told the newspaper. “The community is completely outraged.”