A video of a 16-year-old Madison High School student being arrested by two North East Independent School District officers has gone viral, garnering almost 320,000 views and prompting the question of whether the officers used excessive force.
In the video shared on Facebook, a male and female officer are seen struggling with an unarmed student who is being held face-down on the concrete sidewalk outside the school. The student can be heard crying, saying “you’re hurting me!” At one point, when the student has her hands behind her back, the female officer can be seen picking up the student by her arms and letting her face hit the ground.
The girl’s father arrived while the officers were holding his daughter face down, and he can be seen running up to her saying “Let go of my daughter!” and “Leave her alone!” While he’s kneeling to hold the his daughter, who was sobbing, the male cop stood up to place the father in a chokehold. The girl’s mother arrived shortly after, asking the female officer to stop. For the next couple of seconds, the officers and the parents are arguing, while the dad is still in a chokehold while he holds his daughter.
Eventually, both the girl and her father stand up and are placed in handcuffs. Even after cooperating, the father was not released from the officer’s chokehold.
The video was originally posted on Twitter by another student who filmed the incident.
“[The girl] literally did nothing but laugh and walk out the Saturday school why all this happened idk. But @NEISD y’all trash for this one,” he Tweeted with the video.
One of the girl’s friends also posted about the incident on Instagram, including an explanation for the incident.
“[The girl] had to attend Saturday school because she had too many absences. She showed up and her teacher had a verbal argument, Justine stood up and was going to call her parents to come pick her up. As she got up, the teacher grabbed [the girl’s] arm & [the girl] jerked from her grip,” the friend wrote.
“The teacher called the cops that were on duty. The cops then began to detain her, and [the girl] & other people who watched this said that [the girl] was upset at the fact that they were going to detain her.”
NEISD offered a different version of events, backing the officers' actions.
In a statement to the Current, NEISD spokeswoman Aubrey Chancellor wrote, “I would ask everyone to remember that when you see videos like this on social media, they are just a snippet of the entire situation. In this case, the video does not show the student yelling profanities and disrupting class, it does not show her shove a teacher, it does not show her avoiding police while calling her parents, and it does not show her push a police officer. The video begins after the police officer tried to place her in handcuffs and the student began kicking and hitting. During the struggle the pair fell to the ground where the student continued to resist arrest.”
The officers did not realize the two individuals who were trying to interfere were the girl’s parents until later, according to the statement.
“The incident has been reviewed and the [NEISD] police chief believes with the circumstances surrounding this event, the officer acted appropriately,” Chancellor said.
The girl’s father, who asked not to be identified, told the Current the family had hired a lawyer.