Surveillance footage of a Detroit school cop roughing up a female student at Cass Technical High School on Dec. 9, 2015 has surfaced (video below).
Destiny Heard, the tenth-grade student who is manhandled in the video, got to school late that day and chose to ride the elevator to her class on the sixth floor, VICE reports. A teacher confronter her inside, and asked for her elevator pass. Heard showed the teacher a pass that was expired, so she was told to get out.
When Heard lingered near the elevator accused of attempting to get back on, a security officer was called to the scene. After she was asked to show her ID, Heard headed to the second floor where a second security guard and Orlando Bogins, the dean of students, confronted her.
According to Heard, Bogins yelled at her for insubordination, so she put her earphones in her ears attempting to ignore the reprimand.
Then, Detroit Public Schools public safety officer Charles Braziel demanded her phone, which her earphones were attached to. Heard recalled that she refused and Braziel grabbed the phone and pushed her down, which appears to be the beginning of the video.
In the survellience footage, Braziel slams Heard into a wall several times until she drops down in a corner. Two security guards appear on the video while Heard remains sitting.
Because the adults are standing and Heard is sitting, it's difficult to see what happens next, but Heard alleges Braziel pepper-sprayed her.
Heard ends up being dragged away by one of the security guards. She was taken via ambulance to a local hospital.
"I truly did not expect anything like this to happen when I went to school," Heard told VICE. "I've read about police brutality and read about it happening at other schools, but you don't think, Oh I am going to school, and this is what's going to happen to me. I was absolutely hysterical and surprised, I didn't understand what I did."
Heard was suspended for 30 days by the school principal, Lisa Phillips, and was accused of kicking Braziel, which she denies.
Heard's mom, Venus, told VICE:
I asked Principal Phillips to please investigate before suspending, but she said she was following protocol and recommend a suspension pending expulsion.
I had so much admiration for Principal Phillips, and I never expected her to take the stand she took. I think she should have said this is not going to be tolerated, no student in my school will be treated this way, and [Braziel] should have been out of the building.
Braziel pressed charges against Heard in January, but a family-juvenile court judge dropped those charges. Heard has been in therapy for anxiety and depression since the incident.
Bogins and Phillips didn't comment to VICE, but after its original story was published, Michelle Zdrodowski, executive director of communications for Detroit Public Schools, sent the news site a statement on May 20 that said in part:
According to the DPS Police Department's final report, it was deemed that the officer followed proper procedures as outlined in the Force Continuum Policy contained in the DPS Police Officer Manual. In addition, the report outlines that several witnesses were interviewed, statements were consistent and the conclusions were justified by the evidence.
School security across the country dramatically increased after the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 (and the massive lawsuits that followed). The changes included metal detectors, security cameras, on-campus police and lockdown drills, CNN noted in 2009.
According to a report by the Secret Service in 2008, a student knew of another student's plans in more than 80 percent of school instances of violence.
William Modzeleski, an official in the U.S. Department of Education, told CNN that if students feel comfortable in school, then they are likely to tell an authority figure about another student's violent plans.
However, with schools becoming more armed, some students are feeling less comfortable.
Some students are scared by lockdown drills at schools and are seeking legal action, according to a 2014 Wall Street Journal report.