A video posted on Twitter this morning shows Rolesville police officer Ruben De Los Santos physically picking up a high school girl at Rolesville High School and slamming her to the ground.
All Rolesville police officers began wearing body cameras back in September. Mayor Frank Eagles told the News and Observer that he plans to review the video; due to a new state law regulating the release of body camera footage, a court order would have to be obtained for the video to be released to the public. He also told the N&O that De Los Santos has been placed on paid administrative leave.
A call to Eagles hasn’t been returned as of press time.
Wake County Commissioner Sig Hutchinson, the board’s chair and whose district boundaries include Rolesville, said he hadn’t had a chance to watch the video but that he had heard about it. “I think we want to be careful before rushing to judgement,” he told the INDY following Tuesday’s board meeting, “and we need to collect as much information about this as possible.”
In a response to the video, the Wake County Public Schools said that they and the Rolesville Police Department are investigating the incident, while the ACLU called it a “disturbing use of force.”
“This is very disturbing and everyone watching is very disturbed by what it captures…this kind of force is never justified, especially for kids who go to school to learn,” says ACLU staff attorney Irena Como. “There
are guidelines that cover [police] conduct in schools, they’re supposed to be trained…based on what we know now from the video, it does not appear to show a reasonable use of force.”
As the tweet went viral, parents, students, and others watching expressed disgust with the video and demanded answers. “There was a fight this morning before school began and they rang the bell earlier than normal,” Tanya Pearson, a mother of a Rolesville student tells the INDY. “Officier Santos threw this young lady to the ground and as of yet, I have not received a phone call from Rolesville or WCPSS notifying me of the incident. WCPSS did reply to my tweet however.
This incident follows another from three months ago, where video showed a Rolesville student being pepper sprayed and tackled to the ground.
“I remember this incident as well,” Pearson says. “There was an incident where the students weren’t allowed to leave the classrooms and dogs were out in the hallway. I called the school because parents were not notified of this either. I was told everything was okay. I definitely believe there is a concern here and through-out this nation as a whole.”
This is a developing story, check back for updates.