Ohio high school officials first told a mother that her 16-year-old son would be suspended for ten days for refusing to hand over an electronic cigarette to a school resource police officer.
But when the local media began making inquiries after a video of the cop pushing, shoving and tackling the teen surfaced on Facebook, Mentor High School officials said there was no suspension.
It is not clear why school officials made this sudden about-face but we can assume they were probably trying to avoid the national backlash that was sure to come with a video on its way to going viral.
After all, police abuse is just not cool anymore.
However, the video shows two adults wearing ties, one who happens to be the principal, overseeing the display of police aggression towards the student, so it’s not like they did not witness the incident.
The student, James Craft, said he was walking out of school to board a bus when the principal ordered him to hand over the electronic cigarette, which are apparently banned at the school.
Craft said he refused to hand it over and attempted to make his way towards the bus.
That was when a Mentor police officer, who works at the school, stepped in and began pushing and shoving him, knocking him to the ground where he then piled on top of him.
Another cop ran up and Craft was handcuffed and detained until his mother picked him up.
Although the principal witnessed the entire incident, apparently with full approval, the school issued the following statement after the video surfaced online:
Mentor Public Schools is investigating an incident that occurred between one of our Mentor High School students and a Mentor Police officer, who is assigned as our School Resource Officer, on school grounds on Tuesday, April 14. The officer involved will not be working at Mentor High School while the investigation is ongoing. While we cannot discuss individual cases involving our students publicly, safety and security remain our district’s top priority.
Commenters on the local media article accuse the station of editing the video, claiming the full video shows the student push the cop first, but a video they posted to prove this claim, the second video posted below, does not show that, although there is discussion and confusion among the students observing as to what is actually taking place.
UPDATE: In the second video, a woman named Michelle Holmecki Brindley is claiming the student swung at the officer, prompting the cop to attack him, but upon watching the video several times, it shows the student yanking away from the officer, who apparently was trying to snatch his electronic cigarette. The officer then pounces on him. Also, Ohio law makes it illegal for minors to possess tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes. But Mentor police say they have not charged him with a crime.