On Wednesday, a William Tolman High School student was filmed being body-slammed by a white police officer on school grounds.
The viral cell phone video shows a resource officer handcuffing a 17-year-old student, pinning him to the ground, before grabbing the teen’s 14-year-old brother and slamming him to the ground.
— michael™ (@401_Mthang) October 15, 2015
Police claim the students were attacking the officer. A police spokesman said:
“The officer managed to get the 17-year-old subject on the ground and was attempting to handcuff him, when the second juvenile started to approach the officer from behind. The officer saw the individual approaching him, grabbed the juvenile and used a takedown on the juvenile.”
Students at the scene dispute the authorities account of events. “The school resource officer did that for show, and he wanted to get his point across that he’s big, bad, and tough… when in reality, he did not have to do that and hurt him,” says Tolman student, Jose Morales.
The video quickly went viral on social media with hashtags #JusticeForTyler and #FreeIvander. Students on Thursday walked out of school and organized a demonstration which drew a few hundred students. Mayor Donald Grebien agreed to talk to students at city hall while others continued to protest, where many were pepper sprayed by officers.
— Envy ♈ (@xRKG_NateV2) October 15, 2015
Pawtucket police pepper spray students after they brought protest to private property. Students ran and screamed pic.twitter.com/U67dNeGUCS
— Madeleine Wright (@MWrightReports) October 15, 2015
— Jonathan Bissonnette (@J_Bissonnette) October 15, 2015
Ten people, 8 of which were students, were arrested for disorderly conduct.