Video footage of a La Mesa (CA) police officer slamming a handcuffed high school student to the ground has sparked outrage, with some community members calling for the officer’s removal.
The incident happened at Helix Charter High School near San Diego about 1:30 p.m. Friday. The interaction between the police officer and the student — captured in a 30-second video that shows a portion of the altercation and was widely shared on social media — angered other students, parents and community members who plan to stage a protest at the campus Monday morning.
Officers were called to the school when a 17-year-old student who had been suspended refused to leave the University Avenue campus, La Mesa Police Chief Walt Vasquez said in a statement.
A school resource officer tried to get the girl to leave voluntarily, then ordered her to do so. When she didn’t cooperate, the officer handcuffed her and began walking her to the school’s office, Vasquez said.
“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,” the chief said. “To prevent the student from escaping, the officer forced the student to the ground.”
In video of the incident, the officer is seen throwing the girl over his shoulder onto the concrete sidewalk. He then used the weight of his body to pin her to the ground.
The officer forced her to the ground twice, witnesses said.
Vasquez said that after the student agreed to quit resisting or trying to escape, the officer helped her up and walked her to his patrol vehicle.
Police said that the student suffered minor abrasions during the incident and that she was evaluated by paramedics at the police station who determined she didn’t require treatment.