The school resource officer has since resigned after footage shows him getting violent with a young female student
In newly-released footage, a New Mexico school resource officer can be seen violently handling and tackling an 11-year-old female student. The officer is seen pushing the sixth-grader against a brick wall and shoving her down to the ground as he shouts at her to “stop resisting.”
Officer Zachary Christensen pins the young girl to the pavement after slamming her against the wall. The girl can be heard sobbing and crying at him to get off of her while he’s wrestling the sixth grader into handcuffs.
“I’m not resisting,” she cries. “Get off of me — you’re hurting me.”
What was the girl’s “crime” you ask? According to The Washington Post, she was subject to being violently attacked and humiliated by a police officer for disrupting class, standing up on the school bus, and taking an extra milk from the cafeteria.
Yeah. If that’s not par for the course for most sixth grade students, then what is? Is this just how we discipline children at school now? That’s how we teach them a lesson?
At one point in the painfully difficult to stomach video, a school administrator asks Christensen to let the girl stand up, but he refuses. “Officer Christensen, she is not a threat to yourself or others at this moment,” the school official says. “You are not going to use excessive force to get this done.”
In the full version of the video, Christensen and the school principal try to discuss the young girl’s behavior with her but she does not seem to listen. However, she does not appear to be loud or responding violently herself at any point. She doesn’t appear to be a threat to anyone, either.
If nothing else, this video is at least proof we need to fund and staff schools with more psychologists and counselors.
After a brief discussion, Christensen makes a phone call to see if he can arrest her for “disrupting the educational process.” More than once, he asks the principal and the police department to let him arrest the girl and charge her with crimes. Arrest her. After committing police brutality against a sixth-grade girl who was mildly disruptive.
Eventually, more officers arrived at the scene. Christensen told them the girl had committed “battery” on the principal and resisted arrest. He would later repeat the same lie to the student’s mother when she arrived at the school after the incident. Her mom filed a legal claim against the officer the next day.
Farmington, New Mexico Police Chief Steve Hebbe issued a statement about the incident after watching the video. “Like many of you, I was shocked and angry when I watched this video,” Hebbe says. “We value our relationship with our community and will continue to work hard to maintain the public’s confidence in our department.” Hebbe says Christensen stepped down and resigned after an internal investigation determined that he violated the department’s use-of-force policies. The department also reassigned and demoted Christensen’s supervisor.
“Farmington Municipal Schools extends its apologies to the student and family involved in this unfortunate incident,” the school district says in a statement. “FMS administration is reviewing this incident with the intent of putting into place procedures and practices to prevent another instance like this. The safety of all students entrusted to our care is among our highest priorities.”
Upon receiving medical treatment, the student was diagnosed with scrapes, bruises, and a mild concussion. The New Mexico State Police and the San Juan District attorney say they will not file charges against Christensen.