By Miriam Raftery
January 21, 2018 (La Mesa) – A video showing a La Mesa Police officer slamming a handcuffed 17-year-old female student at Helix Charter High School to the ground Friday afternoon has drawn over 17,000 views on social media, with a protest planned Monday morning on campus.
Aerimaquie Meeka, whose sister attends Helix, calls the action “ brutality. “ Meeka, a former Miss California USA according to her Facebook bio, posted, “I will be completely shutting down my sisters school Helix High on Monday!” adding that a student walkout and press conference will take place at 8 a.m. “We are demanding this officer who slammed a young lady on the concrete while handcuffed be removed from the school and not allowed to work at any other school for the rest of his career.”
The video on Instagram and Facebook does not show what happened before the girl was knocked to the ground, though Meeka claims it happened more than once.
The student, who appears to be African-American in the video, had a dreadlocks hairstyle and wore a short skirt when forced to the ground by the officer.
La Mesa Police Department issued a statement about the incident. It states that the student was arrested by a La Mesa Police school resource officer “for refusing to obey a lawful order to leave school grounds and resisting arrest.”
According to LMPC, Helix staff asked the officer to remove the student, who was on suspended status and did not comply with staff directions to leave campus. The officer asked the student to leave voluntarily and when she twice refused, a violation of the penal code, the officer arrested her and placed her in handcuffs, then began walking her toward the school office.
LMPD's release states, “As they were walking, the student became non-compliant on two separate occasions and made an attempt to free herself by pulling away from the officer. To prevent the student from escaping, the officer forced the student to the ground,” the LMPD release states. “After the student agreed to quit resisting and attempting to escape, the officer assisted her up and walked her to his patrol vehicle. She was transported to the La Mesa Police Department.”
The student suffered minor abrasions and was evaluated by paramedics at LMPD but was deemed not to requirement treatment; the officer was not injured, according to LMPD. The department’s statement concludes, “La Mesa Police Department staff is aware of and in possession of a video, which depicts the student being taken to the ground. As is protocol with all incidents involving use of force, the La Mesa Police Department will be conducting a detailed review of the force used and of the entire incident. Helix High School officials are also fully aware of the facts surrounding the incident.”
The video drew strong reactions on social media.
LaShelle Johnson wrote, “Campus police officers should NOT be able to do this to any child ever,” adding, “They are supposed to protect our children NOT HURT or terrorize them.”