LANCASTER, Calif. - A violent confrontation involving a Lancaster high school student and a school resource deputy has the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department investigating and community members demanding change.
Dozens of students joined a loud after-school rally at Lancaster High, in support of fellow student MiKayla Robinson.
The 16-year-old is the student seen on video that has been widely circulating on social media, being forcefully stopped by school resource deputies two weeks ago – "slammed into the ground" is the description from the many activists, students’ parents and the attorney now representing the girl and her family.
"She was not a threat, and was walking away from the officer," said well-known legal activist Lisa Bloom, now on the case.
Students who were there tell FOX 11 that MiKayla exchanged words with the officer, asking him if he had an issue with her. They said it seemed like she was sensing some kind of disrespect from the officer.
"She never used foul language," said Bloom, and, "yes, did walk away when he tried to stop her, after the exchange, but she was not threatening him in any way, and there is no justification to do what he did."
MiKayla’s mother said she didn’t even learn that the incident happened until she tried to pick up her daughter after school and couldn’t find her. The school referred her to the Lancaster Sheriff substation, and they referred her to Juvenile Hall in Sylmar, where the teen was been held.
Other parents waiting for their kids after school Wednesday express concern that they hadn’t been notified about the incident, and only found out when they saw media outside the school.
The sheriff's department said they are aware of the video and are investigating, releasing a statement that read in part, "During the incident, a School Resource Deputy is depicted attempting to detain a juvenile student in relation to a criminal complaint. The juvenile physically resisted the detention and the School Resource Deputy used force to effect the detention and take the juvenile in to custody."
Community members at Wednesday's protest called for the LASD to defund school resource deputies.
"I think that the main thing is the sheriff’s department doesn't have to be on campus. So there is going to be times and instances where security will be necessary," one protestor explained. "What we're saying is that for a contract that exceeds over $1.5 million to be allocated towards a school, and where those funds can be redirected in ways that are preventative, rather than reactionary, that can create a much safer environment for students as they come and leave campuses."
The sheriff's department said that in all use of force incidents, an in-depth review of the policy and tactics utilized during the incident is being conducted.
"We will thoroughly review our actions related to this incident and take appropriate administrative action, if necessary," the statement continued.
The Antelope Valley School District is also investigating.
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