Earlier this week, students from Tolman High School in Pawtucket, Rhode Island were pepper sprayed and arrested by police during a protest that was sparked after an officer body slammed a teenager to the ground.
According to MyFoxBoston, the incident that inspired the protest occurred Wednesday when a 14-year-old was restrained for fighting. After the teen was arrested, his 17-year-old brother allegedly intervened. The resource officer placed his arm around the teen’s neck, slamming him into the ground.
Witnesses allege the 17-year-old punched the officer, but footage of the claim hasn’t been released.
Over 100 students and a few adults surrounded the school and City Hall on Thursday to speak out against the officer’s actions. After a student pulled the fire alarm at the school, students were evacuated and later asked to go back inside. Some refused and chaos ensued. Another student broke a car window, leading officers to pepper spray the teenagers.
In all, eight students and two adults were placed under arrest.
Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien planned to meet with students to discuss the video on Thursday. Although the resource officer is White and the student slammed was Black, students don’t believe race was a factor.
Police have insisted the video above shows only a glimpse of what happened. They claim the 14-year-old wasn’t compliant with the officer who stopped him from fighting another student, The Valley Breeze sites.
Two teens then started attacking the SRO. The 17-year-old struck the officer in the face. The officer then engaged with two combative individuals, managing to get the 17-year-old on the ground. He was attempting to handcuff him when the second teen started to approach the officer from behind.
“The officer saw the individual approaching him, grabbed the juvenile and used a takedown on the juvenile,” said police. “A video clip showing a portion of this incident was placed on social media last evening. Pawtucket Police obtained a copy of that video this morning.”
Grebien says a full investigation will be completed.
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