Famed civil rights attorney Ben Crump is representing the family of Taylor Bracey — a 16-year-old Black high school student who was seen on camera being body-slammed by white student resource officer Ethan Fournier.
In a press release issued Thursday, Crump’s office announced that the lawyer and fellow attorney Natalie Jackson will represent Bracey, who they say was “unarmed” and “posed no threat” during the January 26 incident.
“It is unconscionable what happened to this young girl at the hands of someone whose primary duty is to serve and protect our children. Students, especially minorities, have a difficult enough time feeling safe in our schools. Do we really need to add school resource officers to the list of fears they deal with on a daily basis?” Crump said in a statement.
“All children, no matter the color of their skin, should feel safe in our schools and have faith that the adults charged with their care and safety will honor and cherish that responsibility.”
Crump demands that Fournier “must be held accountable for his disturbing and violent actions by being fired and arrested.”
NEWS ALERT: @AttorneyCrump & @NatJackTweets to represent 16yo Liberty HS student in Kissimmee FL who was violently body-slammed by SRO Deputy Ethan Fournier. He must be held accountable for his disturbing and violent actions by being fired and arrested. pic.twitter.com/l5NH0MtGF1— Ben Crump Law, PLLC (@BenCrumpLaw) January 29, 2021
Deputy Ethan Fournier must be held accountable for his disturbing and violent actions by being fired and arrested. @NatJackTweets and I have been retained by this student’s family and we’re urging FDLE to complete a swift investigation. https://t.co/tMGmeKPNA3— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) January 29, 2021
In a shocking video that circulated Tuesday, Fournier was seen on video apprehending Bracey from behind before slamming her head onto the concrete ground.
Fournier then handcuffs the teenager, who Crump said was “[laying] unconscious.”
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
Tuesday night, the Osceola County 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.”
However, one person who reportedly took one of the videos 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 body-slammed her headfirst on to the [concrete].”
On Wednesday, Sheriff Marcos Lopez announced that Fournier is on paid leave pending an investigation, which has been turned over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Lopez also alleged that Bracey was not complying with lawful demands prior to the incident, and would not comment on whether the deputy was justified in his use of force.
Crump has also represented the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Jacob Blake — African Americans who many believe to be victims of systemic racism.