Springfield, MA– Security footage has been released of a Springfield police officer grabbing a teenage student by the neck in December 2018 at the High School of Commerce, as reported by MassLive. The officer has not yet been named publicly while the incident is under review. He has been reassigned to another location while the investigation is pending.
The security footage shows a student walking by the Springfield police officer, who was assigned to the high school as the resource officer at the time. The student makes eye contact with the police officer and says something to him. Almost immediately after, the police officer starts to walk toward the teen. He then grabs him by the back of his neck and holds him against a nearby wall while another officer rushes to the scene. The teen is then put into handcuffs and arrested. The student is a minor and will not be identified due to his age. The reason for his arrest was not made public.
This week, Bishop W. Talbert Swan II shared a video on social media of the incident that happened between the officer and the student. Swan is the president of the Springfield chapter of the NAACP and leader of the Spring of Hope Church of God in Christ, located on Alden Street. Swan called the incident "abuse" and said that he was talking to local officials about his concerns about the officer's treatment of a juvenile student.
The chief communications officer for Springfield Public Schools, Azell Cavaan, said that the school had immediately reached out to the police department and requested that the officer in question be reassigned to another location.
Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated that the student’s actions need to be taken into account, too. “First of all, a small number of our youths have a tendency to show disrespect and/or malice towards authority figures, whether it's their parents, seniors, other youths, teachers and/or public safety officials. Situations always have two sides to the story, but avoidance of confrontation and de-escalation tactics is always the key.”
Arrests and suspensions in Springfield schools have been on the decline in recent years.
(Image via YouTube)