CRIME

Video Shows Cop In School Grabbing Teen By Neck, Slamming Him To Floor

The officers were supposed to be de-escalating the situation.

12/10/2015 2:08 AM AEDT

A father in Round Rock, Texas, plans to press charges against a police officer after cell phone footage emerged that shows the officer grabbing his 14-year-old son by the neck and slamming him to the floor at school.

The teen, Gyasi Hughes, told news station KXAN that he and another student at Round Rock High School were in a fight on Thursday related to a pair of prescription sports goggles. Gyasi said the other boy started pushing him, and he pushed back, shoving the boy to the ground. Two school resource officers showed up, ostensibly to de-escalate the situation.

Student Sebastian Vazquez told news station KEYE that he started recording when the officers “got [Gyasi] in the corner.” Vasquez’s video shows Gyasi talking with the men, then placing his hand on the arm of one of the officers, identified by news station KVUE as Officer Rigo Valles. The officer then grabs Gyasi by the neck and forces him to the ground. The teen was handcuffed shortly afterward.

Gyasi indicated that the officer who took him down was using needless physical force from the get-go.

“As I was walking away the officer was pushing me in the back and I was like, ‘Why are you pushing me? I’m not doing anything, I’m walking away like you told me to,’” he told KXAN.

He explained that the officer took him down after he asked the cop to “leave me alone.” Gyasi added, “I was just very upset, I was amped up over the fight and wasn’t really thinking.”

A statement by the town of Round Rock characterizes the teen as being out of control before the officer acted:

One male student refused to comply with an administrator and was attempting to continue to fight the other student. SROs began speaking with the student to calm him down and to de-escalate the situation by walking him into another area of the building. The student refused to calm down and was attempting to get past the SROs to the location of the other student to continue with the altercation. After repeated attempts to calm the non-compliant student, and stop him from going after the other student, officers were forced to detain him for his safety and the safety of others.

Gyasi’s father, Kashka Hughes, told KXAN he plans to press changes against the officer for use of excessive force.

“[The officer] should have been trained well enough to know that this is a 130-pound child and that the action that was taken was totally unnecessary,” Hughes said.

Crime scene reconstructionist and former El Paso police officer Louis Akin told KVUE that based on the video, it appeared the officer was not acting appropriately.

"I think the officer's attitude was 'Obey me. Obey me now. Do not talk back to me. I am the badge.' And that’s not his place in a school," Akin said.

Gyasi was suspended until Tuesday and received two Saturday detentions. Round Rock High School said in a statement on Friday that the administration is investigating the incident "to make sure proper procedures were followed." 

Contact the author at Hilary.Hanson@huffingtonpost.com

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