Students were punished for fighting each other in a Pennsylvania high school cafeteria brawl that happened on Monday, but the cop seen on video assaulting one of the Black girls involved has faced no consequences.
The school superintendent for Hazelton Area High School said four students were suspended in an ongoing investigation that could include criminal charges, WNEP-TV reported Tuesday. However, the school official defended the officer who attacked one of the students while apparently trying to break up the fight.
In a video of the incident, which a student posted to social media, men, who appear to be school resource officers, are restraining the Black girl. According to WYOU-TV, she is 15 years old. While the girl is being held, an officer punches her in the leg and then violently grabs her ponytail after her head and upper body was forced onto a lunchroom table.
Here’s the video clip that has gone viral on social media.
The school district’s superintendent defended the officer’s attack on the restrained girl to WNEP-TV as proper use of force to de-escalate the situation.
“It’s important to know there are always two sides to every story and it’s really important for parents and students and community members to get both sides of those stories before going to social media” School District Police Chief Ed Harry told WYOU-TV.
However, many people saw quite the opposite—unnecessary use of force—by a white officer on a Black girl.
“Culturally conditioned to see black children as inherently more dangerous. Licensed and trained by the government, comfortable that nothing serious will come of it,” tweeted @kgin3d.
We’ve seen that type of outrageous behavior many times before where police officers see no problem with manhandling Black teenage girls. For example, a McKinney, Texas, police officer infamously shoved then-14-year-old Dajerria Becton, who was clad in a bikini, outside a pool party in 2015.
There was also South Carolina sheriff’s deputy Ben Fields who was caught on video flipping a 15-year-old female Spring Valley High School student to the floor and dragging her across a classroom after she refused to surrender her cellphone.
Solicitor Dan Johnson declined to file criminal charges against Fields because he found no probable cause. However, the officer was fired from his job. In the Texas case, Eric Casebolt resigned from his post as a corporal for the McKinney Police Department.
It’s unclear what—if anything—will happen to the officer in the Hazelton Area High School case.