Kissimmee, FL – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) will investigate the takedown of a Liberty High School student by an Osceola County school resource officer who was breaking up a fight on Tuesday (video below).
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office said the incident occurred when a fight broke out as students were changing classes on Jan. 26, WFTV reported.
Osceola County Sheriff Marco Lopez said the incident involving the school resource officer was filmed as the deputy was trying to stop a fight between two students.
“From my understanding, there was a disruption of a school function,” Sheriff Lopez said. “The student was not complying with lawful commands. She went after another student and from there it excelled…”
The cell phone video does not show the initial altercation that led to the student being taken into custody.
The video began as the school resource officer, whom the sheriff identified as Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputy Ethan Fournier, was in the process of taking a female student to the ground, WFTV reported.
In the video, Deputy Fournier held the student with her arms behind her back as he brought her to the ground.
There was a disturbing thud sound in the video when the girl’s head appeared to hit the floor during the takedown.
After she hit the ground, the video showed the student stopped resisting and appeared to be unconscious as the deputy straddle her and placed her in handcuffs.
A second deputy appeared a few second later in the video but did not appear to intervene in any way.
Sheriff Lopez told reporters at a press briefing on Wednesday that in the interest of transparency, he had asked FDLE to step in and handle the investigation into the incident, WESH reported.
Sheriff Lopez said there was much the investigators still had to figure out and they were hoping to find more video footage of the incident and interview more witnesses to the fight.
The sheriff said that Deputy Fournier had been placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation was being conducted, WESH reported.
Sheriff Lopez told reporters at the press conference that the girl received medical attention at the school and “the juvenile was fine.”
He also said the deputy had “sustained some injuries when he hit the ground.”
The sheriff said the school resource officer had been receiving death threats since video went viral and warned that he would not tolerate any threats against sheriff’s department employees and was investigating.
Liberty High School parent Demeatra Bodie told WFTV that the video left her speechless.
“I was like, ‘What in the world? I have to do something… I can’t just let this go,’” Bodie said was her reaction to the video clip.
She wants Deputy Fournier to be arrested, WFTV reported.
“If we were to do something like that to our kids, we will be in jail,” Bodie said. “No questions asked… we’re going to jail until they figure it out.”
She said her son didn’t witness the fight and she wanted to know what had caused it and why the school resource officer reacted that way, WFTV reported.
“We know that they’re there for safety reasons, but they need to be trained on working with kids, because kids are going to give you problems,” Bodie said. “They give us problems as parents, but we’re not going to just beat on our kids and knock them unconscious.”
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content:
This is liberty high school in Osceola county and I’ve seen my share of body slams from that school not only by officers but from Deans as well. I’ve seen grown ass man hop on top of girls to hold them down while they are clearly in distress. pic.twitter.com/wyePuKVqqZ
— LouluNev (@LouluNevy) January 26, 2021