A New Mexico police officer is off the force after body camera footage captured him slamming an 11-year-old girl to the ground while ignoring school officials’ commands to release her.
Farmington police officer Zachary Christensen resigned after bodycam footage taken on Aug. 27 showed him wrestling the sobbing girl after she was accused of being disruptive at her middle school, including taking extra milk from the cafeteria.
The officer had been assisting school administrators in trying to get her to cooperate when she appeared to push past a man identified as the school principal, prompting assault allegations by Christensen, the video shows.
“OK, I’ve had enough of this. Take your bag off. You’re done. You are done. ... You’re not going to assault the principal,” he’s heard telling her before pushing her into a brick wall and then to the ground.
The administrators repeatedly asked the officer to allow the girl to stand, with one man telling him: “We are not going to use excessive force to get this done.”
“We’re not excessive,” Christensen responds as the girl cries for him to stop.
Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe, in a statement on Sunday, said an internal affairs investigation found that there were policy violations and Christensen’s claim of assaulting the school administrator was “proven not to be true.”
Hebbe said he has personally met with the girl and her family and apologized to her for how she was treated. He added that the case has been referred to the New Mexico state police for possible charges and that a supervisor who was at the scene has been reassigned and demoted.
“There’s no excuse for the way this girl was treated,” Hebbe said.
The scuffle left the girl with a mild concussion as well as scrapes and bruises, Hebbe told the Farmington Daily Times.
The case was also referred to the San Juan County District Attorney’s Office, which the Daily Times reported has no plans to press criminal charges against either the officer or the student.