The “disturbing” encounter unfolded Tuesday, Jan. 29, at John Marshall Metropolitan High School as student Dnigma Howard was being escorted out of the building by police. Local station ABC7 reported that Howard was asked to leave the premises after getting into an argument with the assistant principal and apparently began flipping over desks in a classroom.
Howard’s father, Laurentio Howard, said the scuffle unfolded right before his eyes. He said he was called to pick his daughter up from school after he was told she started acting out.
“It was devastating, I couldn’t believe what was going on,” said Laurentio Howard, who filmed the incident between the officers and his daughter. “I was thinking, ‘If I jump in they’re going to shoot me. And if I don’t jump in, they’re going to hurt my daughter really bad.’ ”
According to Chicago police, the teen started fighting the two officers as they escorted her from the school that morning. The officers, who are only identified as Officer #1 and Officer #2, were reportedly hit and kicked by Howard as they led her away. At one point, the teen allegedly bit #Officer 1, causing them both to tumble down the stairs, authorities said.
Their squabble didn’t end there. Police said Howard continued kicking and fighting with the officers even after reaching the bottom of the steps. The video picks up after her and the officer’s downward tumble.
Laurentio Howard acknowledged his daughter has a history of behavioral issues, but blamed the school for not following proper protocol. He also argued the teenager was only defending herself against the two police officers.
“The police officer tried to push her down the stairs, so she grabbed the police officer by the vest,” he told ABC7, adding that one of the officers, a male, had his knee in his daughter’s back while a female officer punched her multiple times once they were on the ground.
Despite pleas from several students not to tase the teen, both officers deployed their stun guns and took Howard into custody. The video only shows one officer use their Taser before the confrontation moves out of frame.
Both officers were transported to the University of Illinois Hospital, while the student was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital for treatment of minor injuries, ABC News reported.
“The officers are currently on medical leave and will be reassigned to different duties within the District as COPA,” department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement. “The CPD Force Review Unit complete independent investigations into the incident.
As for Howard, authorities charged her with two felony counts of aggravated battery to a peace officer and two misdemeanor counts of resisting and obstructing a peace officer. The teen appeared in juvenile court last Friday, where she was sentenced to home confinement until her next court date on Feb. 19, her father said.
Howard, who was also fitted with an ankle monitor, gave a different account of the incident with police and accused one of them of trying to push her down the stairs.
“As I tried to walk the other way, I guess he like, put out his hand and pushed me toward the stairs,” she said. “He caused me to fall down the stairs and I grabbed his vest and we all fell down the stairs.”
In a statement, Chicago Public Schools confirmed the two officers will not be returning Metropolitan High School, saying, “CPS strives to create safe and supportive learning environments for all students, and this disturbing incident has absolutely no place in our schools.”
Watch more in the video below.