WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A family of a student at Airport High School is calling for changes to the use of force policies for school resource officers after their 16-year old sophomore was tased by the SRO.
A video taken by a bystander shows a large fight that had broken out among students in the parking lot near a bus stop.
The video is about a minute long and it’s not clear what events led up to the SRO using the stun gun.
In the video, one sees the officer tase Treyvon Hampton, who is in the white sweat shirt, in the arm.
His lawyer, State Rep. Justin Bamberg, said Hampton’s knee, shoulder and elbow were injured when he fell.
“What level of force is appropriate to use on a child?” Bamberg said. “Treyvon was unarmed. This isn’t a situation where a kid walks into school with a gun in his hand or a knife in his hand about to attack students or teachers. This was a school yard fight, and there was no reason whatsoever to tase a child.”
Hampton said he was trying to defend one of his friends when he got involved in the fight.
The teen said it was a terrifying experience, saying before he even knew what happened he was on the ground and couldn’t move.
He apologized for his role in the fight.
“I couldn’t move my fingers; it’s a pain I don’t wish on no one,” Hampton remembered of being tased.
Bamberg said the family is outraged, believing the SRO violated policy and used excessive force on a child.
“This is a phone call that I would never want another parent to get,” Lashauna Dolph, Hampton’s mother, said. “I would never want another child to felt what he felt that day. For me to go in there and going there and look at him, knowing that he was in pain.”
Bamberg said SROs should have tasers to protect schools. But he added that the family is calling for more consistent and clear policies when it comes to the use of force practices by SROs.
“The use of force policies as they exist apply to police officers, and as it stands right now with SRO programs, all we are doing is taking a police officer and putting them inside a school,” Bamberg said.
The SRO at Airport High is with the Cayce Department of Public Safety, and that department is handling the investigation.
Cayce police said the SRO used appropriate force. The department gave WIS the following statement:
“We have thoroughly investigated the incident and reviewed the use of force. We have determined that the use of force by the School Resource Officer (SRO) was both reasonable and necessary after numerous attempts to verbally and physically deescalate the altercation between the students were ignored. It is further determined that the deployment of the Officer’s electronic control device (Taser) was used because of the continued, active resistance of one student, who posed imminent danger both to the many students involved in the altercation itself, as well as the other students, teachers and staff in the area.”
Cayce police say five students involved with the fight have been arrested and charged with third-degree assault and battery.
WIS has reached out to Bamberg to confirm whether Hampton is one of those students.
Lexington Two School District officials released a statement saying they are cooperating with local law enforcement officials and conducting their own investigation, as well.