LA MESA, Calif. (KGTV) - Hundreds of students at Helix High School walked out of class Monday morning in protest after a La Mesa police officer was captured on camera throwing a female student to the ground during an altercation on the campus last week.
Students exited their classrooms just after 8 a.m. and gathered near the front of the school in response to the incident that occurred Jan. 19 on school grounds. Video of the incident involving a La Mesa police school resource officer and the 17-year-old girl was posted on social media.
La Mesa police officials released the following statement on the incident:
On January 19th, 2018, at approximately 1:35 PM, a 17-year-old female high school student was arrested by a La Mesa Police School Resource Officer for refusing to obey a lawful order to leave school grounds and resisting arrest.
The incident began at approximately 1:20 PM, when Helix High School staff requested the assistance of the School Resource Officer to remove a student, who was on suspended status and non-compliant with staff directions to leave the campus. The officer contacted the student and attempted to gain her voluntary compliance to leave, but she refused. The officer then ordered the student to exit the school grounds, and she again refused, in violation of 626.8(a)(1) of the California Penal Code.
The officer arrested and placed the student in handcuffs and began to walk her towards the school office. 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. To prevent the student from escaping, the officer forced the student to the ground. After the student agreed to quit resisting and attempting to escape, the officer assisted her up and walked her to his patrol vehicle. She was transported to the La Mesa Police Department.
As a result of the incident, the student suffered minor abrasions. She was evaluated by paramedics at the La Mesa Police Department and deemed not to require treatment. The officer was not injured.
La Mesa Police Department staff is aware of and in possession of a video, which depicts the student being taken to the ground. As is protocol with all incidents involving use of force, the La Mesa Police Department will be conducting a detailed review of the force used and of the entire incident. Helix High School officials are also fully aware of the facts surrounding the incident.
Students and other community members said they believe the officer used unnecessary force because the girl was already in handcuffs. Many are calling for the officer's removal.
When asked to provide details on what led to the incident that was captured on camera, a Helix High School official told 10News:
"Incidents involving students or student disciplinary matters are confidential. As such, Helix Charter High School is not at liberty to discuss information regarding student incidents.
We want to assure the community that actions taken by the School are guided by what is lawful and in the best interests of Helix Charter High School students, staff, and school community."