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Video: Officer’s arrest of teen sparks outrage

Video of an officer forcing an uncooperative teen to the ground has led to some calling for the officer’s removal


By PoliceOne Staff

LA MESA, Calif. — Widely shared footage of a California officer forcing an uncooperative high school student to the ground has sparked outrage, with some asking for the officer’s removal.

The San Diego Tribune reports that officers were called into La Mesa High School on Friday when a suspended student refused to leave campus. When a school resource officer ordered the 17-year-old student to leave, she refused to cooperate.

The officer handcuffed the student and began walking her to the school’s office, Chief Walt Vazquez said.

“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,'' the chief said. “To prevent the student from escaping, the officer forced the student to the ground.”

After the student agreed to stop resisting, the officer helped her up and walked her to his patrol vehicle.

Police said the student suffered minor abrasions and that she didn’t require treatment after being evaluated by paramedics at the police station.

 

I will be completely shutting down my sisters school Helix High on Monday. ! I do not care what this young lady did. 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!

Posted by Aeiramique Meeka on Saturday, January 20, 2018

Aeiramique Blake, speaking on behalf of the teen’s family, alleges that the entire situation has been mischaracterized by police. Blake said the student, who was suspended for tardiness, told an instructor that she was anemic and that she didn’t feel well. 

The teacher allegedly accused her of being on drugs and searched her backpack, where the instructor found pepper spray. The teacher said the girl would have to leave campus because pepper spray is considered a weapon.

Blake said the teen felt the instructor’s behavior was discriminatory and that she wasn’t going to leave. The teacher eventually called police.

"No matter what was done or not done, that was not the appropriate way to handle a young lady," Blake said. "The community is completely outraged.”

Police said investigators will be looking into the video as part of the review of the arrest.

“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,” Vasquez said. “Helix High School officials are also fully aware of the facts surrounding the incident.”

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