Community members and leaders in the Los Angeles suburb of Lancaster, California, are outraged and are demanding that Lancaster High School terminate its contract with the county’s sheriff’s department after a video showed a school resource deputy body-slamming a female student to the ground in an attempt to detain her.
The incident took place on Aug. 30, when Mikaila Robinson claims she simply walked up to the resource officer, whose identity has not been made public, and asked him why he was looking at her a certain way and if everything was OK.
Things went downhill after that. Foul language allegedly was directed at the deputy, although the teen claims it came only from a friend who was with her. Robinson was told not to walk away but did so anyway. That’s when the deputy pounced.
In the clip, the deputy is seen grabbing the young girl by her gut and moving to body-slam her to the floor as another girl is seen near them. Robinson is heard saying “get the f-ck off me” as she’s slammed down.
He then pins Robinson on her stomach, placing her in between his legs as he tries to gain control of her arms. She was eventually detained and removed from the school by the officer.
The 16-year-old girl’s legal representation, activist and civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom, said in a news conference outside the school on Wednesday, Sept. 15, “What we have heard from the sheriff’s department is that my client was a ‘threat.’ What was the ‘threat’? We haven’t been told specifically.”
Robinson’s mother, Neesh Robinson, told NBC Los Angeles she wasn’t made aware of the occurrence until after the school day ended, when she couldn’t find her daughter. That’s when staff told her that her daughter had been taken to the sheriff’s station.
“She was pulled forcefully away, [to the point] where she still has marks on her body from being pulled,” Ms. Robinson said. “She wasn’t told anything. Any kid, any human being, period, is gonna react that way!”
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department released a statement: “During the incident a school resource deputy is depicted attempting to detain a juvenile student in relation to a criminal complaint. The juvenile physically resisted the detention and the school resource deputy used force to effect the detention and take the juvenile into custody.”
An Antelope Valley community group has since called on the school district to cancel its contract with the sheriff’s department, which provides policing services on school campuses. Christian Green, a Cancel the Contract campaign coordinator, told WOWT, “This is egregious. This is violent.”
He added, “We’re going to make sure we hold you guys, speak out against it and hold you accountable.”
Bloom said her client is considering all possible legal action, including filing a civil suit against the district and the officer. “The only justification for physical violence, under the law, is if the officer or another person is being physically threatened with bodily injury or death,” she stated. “A teenager simply walking away does not meet that criteria.”
The school district released the following statement: “We are aware of the August 30, 2021 video circulating on social media of a Lancaster High School student being detained by the School Resource Deputy.
The District, in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, is reviewing the incident. The District and the Sheriff Department have a shared commitment to ensure the safety of all our students at all our schools.”
The sheriff’s department said investigators are reviewing their policies and the tactics used in the incident. It’s unclear whether the deputy involved will face any disciplinary actions.