A student resource officer is on paid leave and under investigation after he was seen on video body slamming a Black, female high school student’s head onto a concrete floor.
In a shocking video shot at Liberty High School in Osceola, Florida, a deputy from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department, reportedly identified as Ethan Fournier, is seen apprehending a young woman whose arms are behind her back.
The official then slams the student’s head onto the ground, producing a loud bang.
As other students express shock at the incident, Fournier then handcuffs the girl, who appears to be unconscious.
Clips of the event began circulating on Twitter Tuesday.
This is liberty high school in Osceola county and I’ve seen my share of body slams from that school not only by officers but from Deans as well. I’ve seen grown ass man hop on top of girls to hold them down while they are clearly in distress. pic.twitter.com/wyePuKVqqZ— LouluNev (@LouluNevy) January 26, 2021
Bro this cop at my little brothers high school, slammed & KNOCKED out this little girl, wtf is wrong with these pigs! pic.twitter.com/bfEZkuXkXO— LeaveIt2TheStreets IG (@rofflekris) January 26, 2021
One person who posted the video was quoted by TMZ alleging, "This girl was already separated and under control by one of the faculty members when the officer came out of nowhere, picked her up and bodyslammed her headfirst on to the [concrete]."
On Wednesday, the Osceola County Sheriff's Office says Fournier is on administrative paid leave pending an investigation.
At a press conference, Sheriff Marcos Lopez announced he is turning the investigation over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He also declined to comment on whether the deputy was justified in his use of force.
Additionally, Lopez explained that prior to the recording, the student was allegedly not complying with lawful demands. (In a statement issued Tuesday night, the Sheriff’s Office said “the School Resource Officer was in the process of trying to stop the student from fighting another student in the hallway when the deputy took her into custody.”)
Though Lopez says he has zero tolerance for abuse of citizens, he will also not tolerate death threats toward deputies.
“I will tell you, we have a very good intel unit, and if you’re going to start threatening my sheriffs... Until we can do a thorough investigation, we’re going to come after you, too. Zero tolerance of threatening any of our employees in Osceola County,” he said.
The Sheriff also said the girl was “fine” after she was treated at the scene and later released.