After a video of police pepper-spraying and tasing a Black adolescent student during a large-scale protest at a high school in suburban Dallas-Fort Worth surfaced on Friday, Nov. 19, social media was on fire.
The student, who has not been identified, was at the school for a rally in support of a female classmate who claims she was grabbed and harassed on a school bus in October.
Hundreds of the students gathered in the Little Elm High School corridors on the Friday before Thanksgiving after word circulated on social media that a sophomore named Jaelyn had been placed on in-school suspension after being caught speaking to the person she accused of sexual assault.
Around 10:20 a.m. that day, the students left their classes. Officers attempted to assemble the students by joining their arms and pushing them back, according to a student witness. Despite this, the pupils managed to break through their human chain. Chaos quickly ensued.
Teenagers recorded police officers firing pepper spray at a gathering of students and tasing another as he approached the policemen. Within minutes of the videos being released, parents began inquiring as to what was going on.
Several videos show police officers and students squabbling. A Black boy is pepper-sprayed and tasered to the ground in one video. Following that, the officer can be seen seizing him by his shirt and pulling him away.
Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney, tweeted about the incident. “Texas police pepper-sprayed and TASED Little Elm high school students protesting their school’s handling of sexual assault! This is completely absurd! These youngsters were fighting for the truth. This disproportionate police response is repulsive.”
One white student claims he was tased after attempting to intervene to defend another student.
“He pushes me away, he pulls out his Taser and pushes me with the Taser and he’s like, ‘Hey, you need to back off,’” the junior, Kaden Throckmorton, told the local NBC affiliate. ‘He’s not breathing,’ I responded. ‘We need to do something about it.’ And he ends up placing the Taser to my stomach, Tasing me, and then one of the other officers shoves me in the shoulder, ripping my shirt.”
“I was just running off all of the adrenaline in my body,” he added, “I was just running off all of the adrenaline in my body.” I knew my gut clenched up when he tased me.”
He said, “I knew what I was doing was for the greater good.” “I was just terrified.” “I was terrified.”
The videos she watched were “extremely troubling,” according to Chaplain Crystal Bates of the NAACP’s DFW Metro chapter. “I’m concerned to know what the policies are for this district,” she added.
Four pupils were arrested on that day, according to officials. Superintendent Daniel Gallagher later claimed that during the protest, a large number of students in pursuit of others attempted to break into an office.
Little Elm has developed a website called LittleElmFacts to share their side of the story about what happened on Friday.
Under a section labeled “What happened on the first floor?” the city explains what happened to the Black adolescent who was tased and spread out on the floor in the viral videos. It goes like this:
“This is the scene shown in the videos that have been circulating on social media and in the news recently. Officers were escorting the arrested individuals throughout the building. A third person – a guy student dressed in a light-colored warm-up jacket and pants – attempted to obstruct the arrest at that point. This offense is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. The officers accompanying one of the kids from the second-floor incident are seen forcefully approaching the student on video. Another cop deployed pepper spray to deter the assault after seeing this violent behavior. When the student continued to charge at the officer, the officer had no choice but to use a Taser to stop him.”
On the site, Little Elm Police Chief Rodney Harrison informs the public that an outside “use of force expert” will be brought in to assist the department in determining whether “these officers’ actions” were excessive.