Parents and community members in the Texas city of Little Elm expressed their concerns over the way police handled a demonstration in a high school after a video showed them using pepper spray and taser on at least one student.
According to NBC 5, the incident happened at Little Elm High School on November 19. And posts on social media suggested the students staged the protest to register their displeasure over the way the school district was handling a sexual assault case involving a student.
The protest reportedly escalated at a certain point, and Little Elm police said they arrested four students on suspicion of assaulting police officers who had responded to the scene. The tense confrontation in the school was filmed by some students. In one of the videos, an officer is seen deploying chemical spray on a Black student before another officer discharges a taser on the student when he seemingly heads towards the officer’s direction. The student collapsed after he was hit with the stun gun.
Elsewhere in the video, some students are seen approaching and confronting the officers while the Black student lays motionless. An officer is also seen pointing his taser in the abdomen of another student as he attempts to get him to back off. That student is later shoved by another officer. The student, Kaden Throckmorton, also said he was hit with the taser.
“He pushes me away, he pulls out his Taser and pushes me with the Taser and he’s like, ‘Hey, you need to back off.’ I’m like, ‘He’s not breathing, we need to do something about this.’ And he ends up putting the Taser to my stomach, he Tases me, one of the other officers pushes me on the shoulder, he actually rips my shirt,” Throckmorton said, adding that the officers could have handled the situation better though things got tense.
“I was just running off all of the adrenaline in my body. I knew that when he tased me my stomach tensed up,” Throckmorton said. “I knew that what I was doing was for the better good and I was just scared. I was scared.”
Texas Police pepper-sprayed and TASED Little Elm high school students who were protesting their school’s handling of sexual assault! This is ridiculous! These students were standing up for what is RIGHT. This excessive police response is disgusting. pic.twitter.com/37AmSgwoL6— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) November 23, 2021
Another video also reportedly showed an officer grabbing a female student’s hair and tackling her to the ground. Police told NBC 5 they took action after a group of students approached another group of students in a hostile way.
“I understand that they probably were overwhelmed, that’s a lot of children, totally understand. But they also do training for this type of situation, most of them are probably parents and they have kids and know that it can get overwhelming and you don’t, just, retaliate with violence,” Throckmorton’s mother said. “Police need to … realize these are children and they need to be treated differently than adults.”
Another parent also said she had gone to the school to deliver lunch to her son when she witnessed the confrontation. “There were students being arrested and manhandled on the floor. There were children crying and screaming, it was utter chaos. People were banging on the doors, police were pushing the children around,” she recalled. “It was utter shock.”
In a Facebook post, the school district said some of the students who participated in the planned demonstration “caused a disruption at the school.” The district and police also claimed the protest stemmed from a social media post “that contained inaccurate information regarding an incident that happened a month ago.”
They, however, did not specify supposed inaccurate information. Officials said they’re are investigating the incident.