A Round Rock, Texas police school resource officer that was filmed grabbing a teenage boy by the neck and slamming him to the ground will not face disciplinary action, department officials say.
The incident occurred on October 8 at around 2:15 p.m, after police said “school resource officers were requested by Round Rock High School administrators to assist with a fight in the cafeteria between two male high school students.”
Police said 14-year-old Gyasi Hughes “refused to comply with an administrator and was attempting to continue to fight the other student,” so resource officers “began speaking with [him] to calm him down and to de-escalate the situation by walking him into another area of the building.”
Footage captured on a cell-phone by another student, shows two officers speaking with Gyasi as the teen pleads his case. After talking to the officers for a moment, Gyasi can be seen putting on his backpack, before attempting to make his way past them in an apparent attempt to leave.
Police maintained however that the teen “refused to calm down and was attempting to get past the [resource officers] to the location of the other student to continue with the altercation,” which forced officers to “detain him for his safety and the safety of others.”
Officer Rigo Valles can be seen on the video pushing and then taking hold of Gyasi by the neck before taking him to the ground. He and the officer then pounce on top of him.
Watch the raw footage:
No arrests were made after the incident but the teen was suspended from school for several days. Gyasi says he got into the fight because another student took his prescription goggles used to play football and wouldn’t give them back. He says he grabbed the other student’s backpack to look for the goggles when the altercation began.
The teen also maintained that he was not trying to get past the resource officers to continue fighting. Instead, he says he was simply trying to remove himself from the situation because he was upset over the goggles and with police “getting in his face.”
Following the incident, Gyasi’s father filed a complaint with Round Rock police asking for an internal affairs investigation. Valles was not put on leave after the altercation, but he was reassigned away from Round Rock high school while the department investigated.
A police spokesperson said earlier this week that the department determined that the officers’ actions “were reasonable and within policy,” and that there were no violations of department procedures. Valles will remain a school resource officer and will now return to the school.
Austin NAACP president Nelson Linder says he doesn’t believe Round Rock police conducted a thorough investigation and essentially let Valles off the hook for an obviously unwarranted assault on a teenage boy.
“Are you telling me you can choke a kid on school campus, and body slam him and that’s your policy? Look at the whole nation, does anybody think we’re going to accept that?” Linder asked. “We’re going to call for a DOJ investigation and there are legal efforts already taken place.”