Wake County Schools

Attorney: There's 'no justification' for girl being thrown to ground by officer

Posted January 4
Updated January 5

— ​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.


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  • Sheila Rohrbach Jan 5, 2017
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    being the Mom of a retired SRO officer,,,thanks goodness retired, there is much more to this story than what the media is posting I am sure. I could say so much more.

  • Sara Hauser Jan 5, 2017
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    I would like to hear the SBI 's verdict and hopefully the officer's body cam footage . Too many kneejerk reactions out there.

  • Sean Creasy Jan 5, 2017
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    I still find it curious that this video clip begins right at the point where the officer picked her up... It seems like whomever took this video edited it to only show what the officer did and not what this "innocent" girl was doing right before the officer showed up. Almost like the video taker was recording the entire fight and then edited it to just show the confrontation with the officer.. I would like to see the uncut version...

  • John Townsend Jan 5, 2017
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    "If the girls father had done what that officer did- he would be in jail right now."

    As someone else pointed out. Police are agents of the government and the government has the right to use force to get you to comply with a lawful order. If this girl was just standing around then that is one thing but if she was an active participant in a fight then she has nobody to blame but herself.

  • Deb Schwartz Jan 5, 2017
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    For anyone who has not seen the video prior to the 8 second video, this link contains both.

  • Cherrie Fausnaught Jan 5, 2017
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    If the girls father had done what that officer did- he would be in jail right now. This was NOT appropriate at all. It doesn't matter what happened before. Slamming her to the ground with that kind of force was not called for at all.
    Back when I was growing up, kids got into fights at school...nobody called the police. The teachers would break them up and take them to the office. People judge kids to day very harshly...for doing the same things WE did when we were kids!
    It is ironic that when people talk about "with holding judgment" until you have all the facts, that only pertains to the officer. In their eyes the child is already guilty. Nobody knows why these kids were fighting, who started it, or anything else. smh

  • Deb Schwartz Jan 5, 2017
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    That's why I said news stories. Other news stations are reporting she got a concussion. They state she was taken to the hospital Tuesday evening. The fight and slamming occurred Tuesday morning during breakfast. No one informed the mother. She took her daughter to the hospital after she found out what happened.

  • Roscoe P Coltrain Jan 5, 2017
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    "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."
    Teachers are not trained nor are they physically capable of handling fights, or even aggressive students in high school. Kids today know that and they take advantage. No one has any idea as to what happened prior to the 8 seconds. Did the students ignore the commands of the officers and teachers, clearly the teachers since the resource officer had to be called. So this officer used non lethal physical force to subdue this person, would a taser have been better? pepper spray? Should he have just hugged her until she stopped? Placated her with positive reinforcement until she stopped? I think unless you can prove he acted with intent and malice - that he has a history of problems with children of color this is a non-issue that is only an issue because the "victim" is black.

  • Jeff Freuler Jan 5, 2017
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    The WRAL story says nothing of a concussion

  • Jeff Freuler Jan 5, 2017
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    Any time ANY tye of force is used there is a chance someone is going to get hurt or killed even with less than lethal.