**Warning: Video contains graphic content that may be offensive to some viewers.**
Footage of a fight that recently took place at Vanguard Middle School in Baltimore, MD has surfaced online. According to WBAL-TV, the shocking physical altercation involved an unnamed police officer and three girls identified as Starr, her sister, and their cousin, identified as “Diamond.” The footage begins with the officer facing a stairwell. According to the account given by Starr’s grandmother, Vanessa Ward, the officer was talking to Starr. However, the verbal exchange quickly took a jaw-dropping turn in less than 60 seconds.
“Starr said they was changing classes,” said Vanessa Ward, Starr’s grandmother. “The officer was hollering at her and said, ‘Little girl, get down here.’ And so Starr said, ‘My name is not little girl, it’s Starr.’ Starr came on down the steps, and Starr said that’s when the officer grabbed her.”
As the video continues, Starr is pushed against the wall by the officer as “Diamond” approaches. According to the footage, it appears “Diamond” allegedly shoved the officer. That’s when the incident escalated. The officer can be seen chasing “Diamond,” pulling her baton and striking her.
Gawker reports that it appears “Diamond” was hit in the head twice. All three of the girls were rushed to the hospital for injuries sustained during the physical altercation. Diamond reportedly suffered a head injury and the other two girls were pepper-sprayed. Diamond’s mother, Tashona Neals, recently shared details about her daughter’s injuries with WBAL-TV.
“She had six stitches. No, I’m sorry — 10. Four on the inside and six on the outside.”
But, that’s not all. Following the trip to the hospital, the girls were taken into custody and charged assault. The school system cited that the officer was kicked, punched in the face and chest, and scratched repeatedly during the altercation. However, prosecutors reportedly dropped the charges after viewing the footage. Unfortunately, the ruling was not enough for the girls to be allowed to return to school. All three girls have been suspended and reassigned to alternative schools.
The footage has sparked a heated debate as many viewers are arguing about who was at fault. While many viewers blame the group of girls for their refusal to comply, many viewers feel the officer’s reaction was excessively forceful and a display of poor judgment. In a nutshell, many feel the officer blew the situation out of proportion.
“This is clearly a use of force issue. Anyone who disagrees is a complete idiot. These are middle school girls not college guys. The use of the baton was excessive because the cop chased the girl who was not being combative. The use of pepper spray on a detained student is also excessive force. In no way did this cop exercise proper judgment.”
“Police are in schools now because the kids are a bunch of rowdy jerks. They beat up other student and teachers. They sell and take drugs IN SCHOOL. Parents don’t teach their kids the basics of being a human being. All they know is what the learn from the violent movies they watch.”
“Looks like the officer was out of line. I didn’t see a need for that kind of force.”
Do you think the school police officer’s use of force was justified? Share your thoughts.
[Image via YouTube]