A Round Rock, Texas police officer is under major criticism after he was caught on video grabbing the neck of a Black teenager and pushing him to the ground at Round Rock High School.
A statement from the Round Rock Police Department (RRPD) claims the officer detained the student “for his safety and the safety of others,” but the teenager, identified as Gyasi Hughes, and his father say the officer used excessive and unnecessary force.
The incident began when the 14-year-old and another student got into a fight on Thursday over a pair of prescription sports goggles. According to KXAN, Gyasi asked a friend to hold the goggles during a football game, but when he asked for them back, the student refused to hand them over.
The teen said he asked the student for his goggles again at lunch and when he told him he didn’t have it, Gyasi got upset and started checking the other student’s backpack.
“That’s when he (the other student) started pushing me, pushing me and was like ‘get away from me,’ and finally I pushed him back and I shoved him to the ground,” said Gyasi.
He said an assistant principal broke up the fight, and took him aside. He said that’s when a teacher called the SRO to come over. The teen said the officer told him to walk away.
“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,” said Gyasi. “Finally we get like in this little corner and he’s (the SRO) sitting there yelling at me saying, ‘You shouldn’t be rude to the lady (assistant principal), don’t talk to her like that,’ I was like, ‘what are you talking about, I’m not doing anything.”
When Gyasi asked the officer — identified as Rigo Valles — to leave him alone, he was aggressively grabbed by the neck and pushed to the ground. Another officer on the scene appears to place his knee in the teenager’s back as he’s detained.
“I was just very upset, I was amped up over the fight and wasn’t really thinking,” Gyasi said about asking the officer to leave him alone.
Gyasi was not arrested, but the school did suspend him until next Tuesday. He was also given two Saturday detentions, KXAN reports.
Kashka Hughes, the teen’s father, told KXAN he plans to press charges against the officer.
“The police officer that was actually in this particular situation, he 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,” said Kashka Hughes, the father of the teen involved in Thursday’s incident.
“I believe if he directly contacted the officer in terms of like maybe grabbing him, something like that would be understood, at this moment he was emotional,” said Hughes in regards to his sons emotions after the fight. “He was not being violent towards the officer, he wasn’t hitting him, he didn’t have a weapon, he was just emotional, which is mostly understood after being in a conflict just as he was.”
The altercation with the unnamed student was Gyasi’s first fight, his father told the news outlet. The teenager said he apologized to the officer for yelling at him.
The Round Rock Independent School District released a statement Friday vowing to evaluate the incident, saying the administrative team is currently “working with RRPD regarding an incident involving two students Thursday afternoon to make sure proper procedures were followed.”
You can watch the disturbing video above.
SOURCE: KXAN | VIDEO SOURCE: YouTube
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