How long did we think it would take before the pervasive, excessive violence of the current para-military policing of America’s streets and communities would start rearing its ugly head in our public schools?
Local Baltimore NBC affiliate WBALTV obtained and shared publicly a video of just that. Their 11 News I-Team recently broadcast a fight inside Vanguard Middle School between three teenage girls and a female school police officer. Since the brawl late last October, the girls have been in a heap of trouble and repercussions over the matter, but now that the footage is coming forth into the public eye, questions are being raised as to whether the officer overstepped her professionalism and utilized excessive force.
In the aftermath of the scuffle, the girls were taken to the hospital, later suspended, and were sent to alternative schools for troubled teens.
One of the teens, 13-year-old Diamond, had a gash on her forehead from being beaten with the officer’s baton.
Diamond’s mother, Tashona Neals, stated:
She had six stitches. No, I’m sorry — 10. Four on the inside and six on the outside.
Now, readers might jump to conclusions and simply assume these teenage girls must have done something to deserve being bashed on the head and roughed up by a police officer in the security of their own school’s hallways. Well, take a look at the video caught on the school’s surveillance network below and judge for yourself whether or not that level of violence was warranted.
Accounts of that day vary, depending on who is doing the talking – the teenage girls, or the police officer in question.
It all started with Starr, Diamond’s cousin, who was being addressed by the police officer from the bottom of a staircase. Starr is off camera, but the officer can be seen motioning for Starr to down the stairs to her.
Starr’s grandmother, Vanessa Ward, stated:
Starr said they was changing classes. The officer was hollering at her and said, ‘Little girl, get down here.’ And so Starr said, ‘My name is not little girl, it’s Starr.’ Starr came on down the steps, and Starr said that’s when the officer grabbed her.
Other than displaying some attitude with body language, it certainly doesn’t appear in the video that Starr had done anything to warrant that level of physical violence leveled toward her bye the officer. In fact, it was the officer who burst into Starr’s personal space, getting in her face, and the teen simply seems to turn her back on the officer when the officer turns violent.
It’s at that point the video shows the officer grab Starr and push her against the far wall.
In the meantime, Starr’s sister (also a student at Vanguard) heard Starr was involved in some kind of fight and rushed over to help her.
Ward stated regarding that aspect of the incident:
So she goes over there thinking it’s another child, and she gets over there, and it’s an officer. She went over there to try to stop her.
Diamond then shows up on the scene and rushes to the aid of her cousins. Reports state it appears Diamond pushed the officer, but the video could just as easily be showing Diamond trying to pull the officer momentarily off of her cousin. The exchange takes place in less than a second before Diamond, herself, is backing across the room as the school officer leaves Starr and goes after Diamond.
Likely feeling ganged up on at that point, the police officer pulls her baton and proceeds to put it to use, hitting Diamond twice, perhaps more, one blow of which resulted in the gash on Diamond’s head and the 10 required stitches.
Starr’s mother, Neals stated:
I knew something had happened because I received a call from the paramedics.
Local I-Team Jayne Miller asked the concerned parent:
So your daughter is in the office bleeding, and they don’t call you?
According to Neals, that’s exactly what happened. The school had not contacted her at all. “No,” she said.
All three teens ended up going to the hospital. Diamond certainly went for the beating she’d taken to the head, and the other two girls went because all three of them had also been sprayed with pepper spray in the process. As another school official worked to restrain and subdue the girls, the assaulting officer proceeded to pepper spray them.
The local attorney representing the girls, Jared Jaskot, stated:
The officer kind of comes from behind and reaches around and sprays them multiple times in the face with pepper spray. It’s disgusting.
Jaskot is representing the girls due to the punishments they’ve received as a result of the incident. All three were taken to juvenile booking after they left the hospital, ultimately charged with assault on the officer. The school is shockingly alleging the girls kicked, punched, and scratched the officer in both the chest and the face.
Neals told local I-Team:
I didn’t see any of that on the video.
The girls, and their attorney, all feel it is the school and the school officer who should be punished in the wake of the highly unfortunate incident.
What’s more, after prosecutors viewed the video they dropped all charges against the girls during their appearance in juvenile court.
The state’s attorney saw the tape and picture of my daughter, and we never even made it in to the courtroom. They came out and said it is being dismissed.
Right? So what’s the school’s problem?
All three teens remain suspended and attending alternative schools where troubled kids traditionally attend. The new CEO for the area’s school system, Gregory Thornton, has decided to uphold the suspension, claiming he’d received a letter recommending that course of action.
The unjust suspension is yet another charge Jaskot is fighting on behalf of the girls.
Jaskot told I-Team’s Miller:
[Thornton] said that he reviewed their case and sustained the officer’s findings. What he reviewed, I have no idea, and I can’t wait to see.
Adding even less sense to the matter (and likely guilt on the officer’s part) the local police union president told I-Team that the officer involved in the incident has since been reassigned in the wake of the girls’ impending filed complaint. Her new job – administrative duties. Apparently, an internal investigation is also being conducted.
It seems school cops watch each other’s backs just like street cops. The police union president stated, essentially, no harm no foul because the officer was in the process of trying to make an arrest at the time the injuries were incurred. The officer’s violence waged upon the teens was “justified,” no matter whether the officer initially over-reacted and overstepped her authority or not. Once an officer chooses to meddle in your space and affairs, you forfeit all rights to stand up for yourself, or protect yourself.
You. Must. Submit.
Any act beyond full submission, no matter how unwarranted the intrusion, is grounds for violence upon your person, even death.
Hilariously, a spokesperson for the local school system claims that safety is a “top priority” for its students and staff. However, the school is unable, at this time, to make comment due to the ongoing investigation and filed complaint.
And Texas is trying to pass a bill that will allow teachers to kill students if they feel threatened or deem school property is in danger of being damaged?
What could possibly go wrong there, eh?
The sad thing is, police have been abusing kids in schools for years already. This is nothing new.