Attorney: There's 'no justification' for girl being thrown to ground by officer
Posted January 4
Updated January 5
Rolesville, N.C. — Rolesville Mayor Frank Eagles promised a thorough and complete investigation into why a female student was slammed Tuesday into the ground by a school resource officer.
In video posted to Twitter, school resource officer Ruben De Los Santos can be seen picking up 15-year-old sophomore Jasmine Darwin and slamming her to the floor.
Darwin said she was trying to break up a fight between her sister and another student when the officer came from behind and slammed her to the ground.
"We're not going to cover up anything, we're going to make sure it is all done right," Eagles said. "But, you have to learn to respect people and not make a sudden judgement."
De Los Santos, who is a member of the Rolesville Police Department, has been placed on paid administrative leave.
Records show that De Los Santos joined the Rolesville Police Department in 2012 and completed a six-month probationary period, as required by the Town of Rolesville's personnel division. He was promoted to school resource officer at Rolesville High School in August 2013.
"We've got people involved in the PTA and in the Boosters Club...that know (De Los Santos), how nice and respectful he is, and the kids like him," Eagles said.
Eagles said the police officers were at the high school Wednesday morning to interview students and teachers who witnessed the incident. The State Bureau of Investigation is also investigating.
"The chief told me this morning they were out at the school. Students were very respectful, nobody was cursing at them, they were opening doors for them," he said. "We've got a good school. We've got good kids in that school."
Wake Sheriff Donnie Harrison said the video shows a chaotic scene, and that officers are trained to make split-second decisions in these situations.
"We don't know what precipitated him doing what he did," Harrison said. "I'm not saying that it is right or wrong, but when you go into a situation, that training kicks in and you do what you can to preserve and keep people from getting hurt."
Desiree Harrison, Darwin's mother, told WRAL News on Wednesday that she hired an attorney and has pulled both of her daughters out of Rolesville High School. A formal complaint against De Los Santos has also been filed.
"I don't think he should work there anymore with kids," Darwin said. "It's not safe there at Rolesville anymore while he's working there."
Harrison's attorney, Freddy Rabner, said he is deeply disturbed by what he saw in the video.
"There's no justification for treating her that way. I don't know what this officer had in his mind," he said.
Harrison stands by her initial thoughts that De Los Santos' actions were excessive.
"You didn't have to do that to her. You could have simply pulled her to the side and sat her down," Harrison said. "He shouldn't have did it to a child. That's no way to handle a child. You didn't just sit her down, move her away; you body slammed her to the ground."
Rabner said Darwin is having headaches, vision problems and other issues associated with a concussion.
Eagles said De Los Santos was wearing a body camera at the time of the incident.
A spokesperson for the ACLU said Wake County needs to take a serious look at how to discipline versus when to refer to law enforcement for criminal activity.