Viral video shows resource officer grabbing a black high school student in a choke hold
A horrifying video is making the rounds on social media showing yet another instance of abuse at the hands of a school resource officer. A video taken at the Camden Fairview High School in Camdem, Arkansas shows their school resource officer detaining a black student in a choke hold, who later told reporters that he feared for his life.
The video, which was originally shared on Facebook by a student and obtained by The Root writer Michael Harriot, shows the officer choking the student and lifting him into the air with his arms wrapped around his neck. The student, Dekyrion Ellis, says that officer Jake Perry put him in the chokehold after Ellis got into an argument with another student.
“He [the student] hit me. I pushed him. Then he pushed me and I pushed him harder to where he fell on the ground,” Ellis told MyArklaMiss.com. “That’s when the kids started grabbing me and him. The police officer pushed the kids off of me and he grabbed me and started choking me against the glass.”
Ellis says he cannot understand why he was restrained like he was and says he didn’t resist Officer Perry whatsoever.
“He could’ve taken me to the office,” Ellis said. “He didn’t have to restrain me. It wasn’t like I was trying to get away from him. I wasn’t resisting arrest.”
“He should have put his hands behind his back,” the student’s grandfather Mark Ellis added. “That would’ve been the appropriate way to handle the situation.”
The video shows a lax Ellis lifted into the air by the officer as his classmates watch and laugh nearby. “I feared for my life,” Ellis said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen. I blacked out. I really didn’t see anything until he took me back to the office.”
Camden Police Department Chief Boyd Woody said in a statement that the officer has been relieved of duty effective immediately pending an investigation, though a report from MyArklaMiss.com says that the officer was released on paid leave.
“As Police Chief, I will not tolerate misconduct from my officers,” Woody stated. “This matter will be dealt with accordingly and I will be transparent in doing so.”
Police Chief Woody also stated that the officer in question was “well received in the community,” though Ellis’s dad Dexter Parker said that he’s received several private messages from individuals who know the officer and called him a “bully.”
“If we don’t get anything done then it’s going to keep going on,” Ellis’s mother Alonna Parker said. “They’re not going to do anything about it.”