Parents are expressing concern after video emerged that appeared to show a Florida school’s resource officer slamming a boy in Grade 6 to the ground.
The video, which went viral online, shows the officer run after the boy outside Florida’s Lincoln Park Academy Tuesday afternoon and lift him up before slamming him to the ground. Another video shows the child being led away in handcuffs.
According to local media outlet WPTV, the student, who has not been named, was being suspended from school when the incident occurred.
An incident report released by the school says that the suspension came after the student was being disruptive in class and chest-bumped another student.
While in the Dean’s office waiting to be picked up, the student reportedly walked out of the office and ignored commands from the faculty to come back, necessitating the resource officer being called in, the report said.
The student had been arrested five days before for aggravated assault, according to school staff.
The deputy’s actions are drawing criticism from parents in the community, who think he may have gone too far.
“He didn’t have to slam him down like that,” General Platt, who has two kids at the school said.
“If the kid was fighting him back and the officer felt like he was in some type of danger, then I could kind of justify his actions, but it doesn’t appear to be that way.”
But the sheriff’s department has defended the deputy, saying that what he did didn’t constitute excessive force, and that the video leaves out important context that led up to the incident.
“Our school resource deputy is very, very familiar with this student and knows he has a violent history, including possessing weapons,” Sheriff Ken Mascara said.
The deputy has worked as a school resource officer for the past eight years, and has been at the school for three.
The department says this is the only complaint of excessive force against the resource officer.
“At the end of the day, the deputy did everything he could to defuse the situation. His use of force fell within the legal and our agency guidelines,” Mascara said.
The student was reportedly unharmed, leaving the hospital with only a Band-Aid after the incident.
He’s now facing a number of charges, including assault and disorderly conduct.
The boy’s grandfather tells WPTV that he’s going to undergo a mental health evaluation.