A Clovis Unified police officer seen in a video taking a student to the ground at Clovis East High School will not return to campus until an investigation is completed, according to the district.
A seven-second video circulating on Snapchat and Twitter shows the officer pull a student away from a golf cart before taking him to the ground by the neck and pinning him there. The video was first reported by ABC 30, which spoke to students and parents who were upset by the incident.
District spokeswoman Kelly Avants said the officers seen in the video were responding to “a report of escalating tension between two student groups” at lunchtime.
“The officers were able to proactively address the issue without further escalation. In the course of peacefully resolving the incident, however, an observing student became very agitated and aggressive toward the officers and their vehicle,” Avants said in a statement. “Officers’ attempts to calm the student and de-escalate the situation failed. It was only at that time, and out of concern for the student’s own safety and the safety of the other students present, one of the two responding officers took the student to the ground.”
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A Clovis East student who witnessed the incident told The Bee that other bystanders were yelling for the officers to release the student, who was handcuffed and taken away.
“The cop shouldn’t have handled a minor the same way he would’ve handled a, let’s say, 22-year-old criminal,” said the witness, who is not being identified because she is a current student.
Avants said the district is conducting an investigation before the officer returns to duty on campus.
“This investigation will focus on ensuring that the officer followed training protocols and first attempted multiple interventions before using any type of force with a student,” Avants said.
The district is reviewing possible additional security camera footage.