South Carolina

‘I can’t breathe’: Officer knocked girl unconscious at SC high school, lawsuit says

Watch: Teen loses consciousness as officer handcuffs her at SC high school

Video taken May 3 at a high school in Spartanburg County, S.C., shows a sheriff’s deputy push a 15-year-old girl onto the ground and put his knees on her back as he handcuffs her. Her body goes limp shortly after she tells him, "I can't breathe."
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Video taken May 3 at a high school in Spartanburg County, S.C., shows a sheriff’s deputy push a 15-year-old girl onto the ground and put his knees on her back as he handcuffs her. Her body goes limp shortly after she tells him, "I can't breathe."

Video shows a sheriff’s deputy push a 15-year-old girl onto the ground and put his knees on her back as he handcuffs her.

“I can’t breathe,” the girl says before her small frame goes limp, the video shows.

The video was taken May 3 by students at a high school in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, according to a lawsuit filed by the girl and her mother this week against the school district and the sheriff’s office.

The Broome High School resource officer, the lawsuit says, did not have probable cause when he picked up the girl “and slammed her to the hard surface ground and then put his weight on her body in such a violent fashion that” she fell unconscious.

The lawsuit says the teenager saw a classmate being bullied, but she refused to give a statement about what happened because her mother told her to avoid getting involved. When she declined to talk to school officials, the administrator called for the deputy.

The officer charged the teen with disorderly conduct, which the lawsuit calls a “cover-up.”

“It was the behavior of the school officials and their resource officer who precipitated and triggered the violent assault” on the girl, the lawsuit says.

The deputy said in a report that the student refused to go with a principal. “I made several more requests for the student to come to the office. Every time was met by more of the same profanity. A large group of the student body were now gathering around the disturbance caused by the student’s vulgar behavior,” the deputy wrote in his report, according to Fox Carolina.

“I informed the student that if she did not comply I would have to place her under arrest. The student replied with more profanity so I informed her she was now under arrest for disorderly conduct. The student resisted my lawful arrest so minimal force was used to restrain her,” the officer said, according to WYFF.

In a statement, Spartanburg County School District 3 said, “There was an incident at Broome High School that is currently under investigation by the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office. Because the student who was involved is a juvenile, we’re unable to go into too many details about the situation,” according to WSPA.

“However, Broome High School’s administration and staff were present for the situation and the principal applied appropriate discipline for refusal to obey an administrator and staff, as well as using extreme profanity, threats and attempting to assault the officer. As far as a potential lawsuit goes, we have not been informed of any lawsuit against the SRO in question and cannot comment on pending litigation if there is one,” the district said, according to WSPA.

The FBI and the U.S. Justice Department are launching an investigation into an altercation between a school resource officer and a female student at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, S.C. A video of the incident was posted online Monday and w

Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.
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