Group mulls federal complaint after Enloe High prank arrests
Posted May 30, 2013
Updated May 31, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Seven students and a parent who were arrested at Enloe High School earlier this month after a water balloon prank spoke publicly Thursday as a community group considers filing a federal complaint on their behalf.
The Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African American Children hosted a community meeting Thursday evening to clear up confusion about what was inside balloons tossed at the high school on May 15. The prank caused a commotion, and rumors began circulating on social media that the balloons contained bleach, urine and other bodily fluids.
"By no uncertain terms, this has been determined as nothing more than water balloons," said parent Kevin Hines, who was charged with second-degree trespassing at the school after, he says, he went inside to speak with the principal about Raleigh police officers' treatment of the students they arrested.
Charges against Hines have been dropped, and he wants the same outcome for the students.
The coalition is also considering taking the issue to the Justice Department's Office for Civil Rights and plans to speak out at the school board meeting on June 4.
Roderick Hodge, 16, said the punishment was excessive.
"I got locked up for water balloons," he said. "I'm sitting here in this cell with all these other guys, and I really didn't do anything."
A sophomore who wasn't arrested told WRAL News that he had to be treated at WakeMed after a police officer grabbed him, knocked him down and drove his head into the ground at least twice.
Kelton Hines said sitting in jail was a frightening experience.
"I was kind of scared," he said. "I didn't want to say much because I didn't know how people in there would take it, so I was kind of nervous."
In addition to jail time, each of the students involved was suspended for one to five days. The school stands by its handling of the situation, but at least two families have hired attorneys.
"This is stuff that shouldn't have happened," said parent Cathy Brown. "I'm in support of these kids."