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Attorney Ben Crump calls for charges, firing of school officer seen slamming student to ground

Florida deputy under investigation for allegedly body-slamming student
Florida deputy under investigation for allegedly body-slamming student 01:52

The attorney for the family of a Florida high school student who was seen on video being slammed to the ground by a school resource officer has called for the officer to be fired and charged with aggravated assault. A video widely circulated on social media appears to show the officer slamming the female student to the ground where she lays motionless as she's handcuffed. 

"We demand that this officer be terminated because this is unacceptable that you can do this to our children and not be held accountable," Attorney Ben Crump told CBS News. "And we also want him to be charged with aggravated assault and battery on a child, because Taylor was a child, he was a grown man."

The brief video, which had been viewed more than 70,000 times as of late Tuesday night, appears to show the deputy forcefully throwing the 16-year-old girl onto a concrete walkway at Liberty High School in Osceola County. Moments later, the deputy is seen handcuffing her while a second deputy stands over them. 

The officer has been placed on administrative leave. Osceola Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace told CBS News that the school district has "no comment at this time as this is a pending investigation under the direction of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement."

The teen is now recovering at home, where her mother, Jamesha Bracey, says she is experiencing headaches, blurry vision, memory loss, and fatigue. Bracey said watching the video made her "upset, distraught," and "hurt." 

"No one child should have to endure something like she endured. No one, period. And he needs to be held accountable," she said.

The officer is an employee of the Osceola County Sheriff's Office, which said Tuesday evening that it's collecting video and witness statements. The Sheriff's Office also said the officer "was in the process of trying to stop the student from fighting another student in the hallway when the deputy took her into custody."

According to Bracey, her daughter said she had a "verbal altercation" with another student but did not fight, and only remembers "being slammed and waking up in the principal's office."

Bracey said the teenager called from school earlier that day to tell her mother that a group of students was planning to attack her after school. Bracey instructed her daughter to tell the dean. "And she did because the dean called me two minutes after the fact that I hung up with her to tell me that they have her in student services and that he would prefer that one of us come to pick her up because he didn't want to put her back in student population until he investigated what was going on," Bracey explained.

En route to the school, however, she said she got another call — this time from the assistant principal asking if an EMT had permission to check on her daughter. Bracey said she immediately asked what happened, but was not given an explanation.

"He wouldn't give me any information over the phone. He handed the phone to the lieutenant EMT for him to tell me that her vitals were good and she had no physical injuries that he could see, and he didn't think that she needed to go to the hospital," she said. "So I asked him again what happened, still no information. I didn't get any information on what happened to my daughter until I got to school."

Upon arriving along with her husband, Bracey said they were not told that their daughter had been knocked unconscious. "My daughter's the one that told me that she woke up in the office," she said. "So, apparently something happened, which we're seeing now on the video that's gone viral."

"It's obvious that she was knocked unconscious just by looking at the video and the fact that she remembers waking up in the principal's office," Crump said. "It is just unacceptable that this police officer, this grown man, would slam this Black girl on the concrete, see her not responsive at all but still put handcuffs on her."

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the Sheriff's Office's use of force policy says officers should use "the minimal amount of force necessary to perform official duties." Crump said the video makes clear that policy was violated. 

"We've been contacted by two other families where they said this particular deputy, this resource officer, used excessive force against their Black daughters. So we demand justice," he said. 

Bracey said her next step is to care for her daughter's symptoms, and ensure she remains safe. When asked if her daughter would return to the school, Bracey replied, "She won't be going back, no."

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