Small Town Cop Delivers Big City “Justice” To High School Girl
January 5, 2017 (Fault Lines) — Since Columbine back in 1999, high schools throughout the country have deployed “Student Resource Officers” or SROs – a euphemism for standard armed police stationed full-time at the school. These law enforcement officers are intended to provide “safety” to the students during class hours and at sporting events, and will occasionally teach classes as well.
The risk to these arrangements, of course, is that despite the fancy name, SROs are still police.
A high school girl in Rolesville, North Carolina (population: 6,074) learned that lesson first-hand on Tuesday as a 9-second cell phone video went viral on Snapchat and Twitter:
— Ahunna (@ahunnaaa_) January 3, 2017
In a move reminiscent more of a WWE match than a school, Rolesville Police Department officer and SRO Ruben De Los Santos can be seen grabbing the teenage black girl from behind, lifting her into the air, and then body slamming her into the concrete, before placing her under arrest.
Later Tuesday afternoon, a second, earlier video surfaced showing a minute-long fight between two other girls in the high school cafeteria.
Jasmine Darwin, the slammed student, told local media she is the sister of one of the students who was fighting, and was trying to break up the fight when Santos intervened.
While the nationwide attention from the videos is rare for Rolesville, it is just another example of a recurring pattern across the country of SROs use of questionable force toward the very students they are supposed to protect.
Just last month, a police SRO at Hug High School in Reno shot a 14-year-old boy in the neck while a crowd of students surrounded them. In October 2015, a girl was ripped from her desk and thrown across the room by a police SRO at Spring Valley High School in Columbia.
And Rolesville itself has faced recent criticism in the past for its SROs, as an officer was shown on video macing a student back in October.
This most-recent incident at Rolesville High School has prompted the Wake County Public School System to re-assess its Memorandum of Understanding with Rolesville PD on the role its officers will play in school safety:
School administrators are reviewing the district’s agreement with local law enforcement agencies on school resource officers. The agreement, which is set to expire in June, says use of force by officers must be reasonable and not excessive, arbitrary or malicious.
“We’re looking at the memorandum of understanding in terms of the context of the incident and seeing if any actions need to be taken,” Lisa Luten, a Wake County schools spokeswoman, said Wednesday.
It remains to be seen if any tangible changes will be made when the MOU is renewed this June.
Rolesville Mayor Frank Eagles indicated there is bodycam footage of the incident, but neither he nor Police Chief Bobby Langston would offer any detail on what it showed. As part of a new law passed with wide bipartisan majorities in North Carolina last June, all police bodycam, dashcam, and other video have been removed from the state’s Public Records Act.