The Slatest

Louisiana Police Officers Charged After Slamming Black Teenager to the Ground at a Middle School

A screen grab from the video of the incident. An officer can be seen putting his hands on a student while others look on in the office.
WBRZ

A Louisiana grand jury indicted a former police officer seen in a video from October aggressively slamming a black teenager to the ground twice in an administrative office of a Brusly, Louisiana, middle school, local media reported Friday.

The West Baton Rouge Parish jury charged Kip Dupre with malfeasance in office, according to WBRZ. A second officer on the scene, Dan Cipriano, who also physically struggled with the student and helped handcuff him, was indicted on a charge of simple battery.

The family of 14-year-old Isaiah Johnson have said that while they are happy the officers were indicted, the charges amount to a “slap on the wrist,” according to the Associated Press. Both officers resigned in November after the surveillance video was sent anonymously to a local television station, sparking a police investigation. Police handed their findings to the local district attorney’s office, which presented the case to a grand jury.

The video, which has no audio, shows Johnson standing in front of a desk and talking to Dupre and the middle school staff. When Johnson turns to head away from the desk and toward the door, Dupre seizes Johnson by the shoulders, twists him around, and slams him to the ground. At another point in the video, Dupre is seen moving his arm and shoulder in a rapid way that suggests he is hitting the teenager. According to the Advocate, Dupre had claimed that the student reached for his weapon during the scuffle. The video appears to show Dupre handing his gun to a staff member while he and Johnson were on the ground.

According to the family’s lawyer, Johnson had been assigned to detention for cursing on the playground that morning, the Advocate reported. The conflict arose when he started to argue with administrators over the length of the detention. According to WBRZ, his family said Johnson was medicated for behavioral problems.

The family’s lawyer told the Advocate that the teenager had to miss school after the incident and is now attending counseling. According to WBRZ, the family have accused the staff of mishandling the situation and have argued that the school misled them about the incident. They say they plan to file a lawsuit over the way he was treated and to discuss the incident again with the police.