In suburban Atlanta, the DeKalb County Schools police chief stands accused of using excessive force on a Georgia teenager on a high school campus during regular school hours.
The chief has been placed on leave as the district reviews the incident.
Surveillance footage shows the moment Chief Bradley Gober comes up behind the 17-year-old student as the boy is walking down a school hallway alongside a major and brushing that officer’s hands away.
Gober wraps up the much-smaller student from behind, twists and lifts into the air before slamming him face down to the floor. The cops converge on the pair on the floor to handcuff the boy and take him into custody.
According to the arrest warrant, the altercation happened on Aug. 31 around 2 p.m. while the student was on the Redan High School campus. It said the student pushed the officer while taking another female student in custody.
Richard Stephens, the boy’s father, was shocked upon being shown the video of the violent takedown. He was especially upset because the school’s administration did not contact him.
“I didn’t know nothing about it. … The school didn’t say nothing about that. … I didn’t even know that he was arrested,” said Stephens in an interview with WSB-TV.
Despite the boy being a minor, the father said his son’s friends told him that he was taken to DeKalb County Jail.
His son spent the weekend behind bars, charged with obstruction of justice and damaging school property
“I spoke to him, and he said he don’t know why they did it,” the father said. “I just gotta look into it. … I need to see the Chief. I need to see somebody.”
While any recordings showing what happened leading up to the arrest have yet to come to light, unnamed witnesses told WSB that the chief had responded to a fight near the school’s front office. Upon arrival, he told Stephens’ son not to get involved in the fight or he would be arrested.
The young man was then sat inside a small room in the front office before leaving that office and the incident in the hallway taking place.
The young man’s father was outraged.
“I was in shock that it was an actual officer, an adult grabbing (my son) and actually slamming him to the ground,” Stephens told 11Alive. “(He hurt) his head, shoulder, the whole side – like, he’s fragile. What if you would have paralyzed him?”
He wants to meet with the district’s superintendent and have charges pressed against both officers involved.
Gober, with 16 years of experience in DeKalb County Schools’ Campus Security & Life Safety, assumed the role of department director in 2017. He currently holds the positions of detective in the Criminal Investigation Division and manager of Internal Affairs, and he is credited with founding the district’s Emergency Response Team.
The DeKalb County School District confirmed that the chief has since been placed on paid leave in light of the video. The officials also said they are “aware of a recent video circulating in the media regarding an incident” with the chief.
“In keeping with standard operating procedure, Chief Gober has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation,” the statement said. “This standard procedure ensures a comprehensive and impartial assessment of the incident. No additional information will be provided while the investigation is ongoing.”
The district also said it appreciated the community being cooperative and understanding as it probed into the matter.