There is a huge discrepancy between how a 17-year-old says was treated by San Diego cops and how the cops claims she was handled. Fortunately, video footage brought out the truth.
While the video doesn’t show what caused the incident, allegedly the unnamed 17-year-old was at Helix Charter High School even though she was suspended. She was told to leave campus and reportedly refused. According to La Mesa police Chief Walt Vasquez, “As they were walking, the student became non-compliant on two separate occasions and made an attempt to free herself by pulling away from the officer. To prevent the student from escaping, the officer forced the student to the ground.” Forced is an understatement.
The San Diego Union-Tribune tells a different story of the suspension, “The teen was assigned to in-school suspension for tardiness when the girl told an instructor she wasn’t feeling well. The student explained she was anemic, but the teacher allegedly accused her of being on drugs.” The San Diego Union-Tribune continued, “The instructor asked to search her backpack, and the girl complied. No drugs were found, but the instructor found pepper spray in her bag. The teacher said because pepper spray is considered a weapon, the student would have to leave campus … the girl felt the instructor’s behavior was discriminatory and she decided she wasn’t going to leave campus until she felt she was being heard.” Helix Charter High School refused to comment on the incident.
Within hours, footage of what the police officer actually did — that it wasn’t simply forcing the teen to the ground — there was outrage. The officer did not appear to be telling the full truth. He clearly used excessive force and body-slammed her. See below:
On Monday, hundreds of students walked out of class in protest. The officer was reassigned and will no longer patrol schools, according to KPBS. Kudos to the student for doing something with their outrage. Hopefully the police department will better train their officers on how to manage unarmed teenagers.