A Texas school resource police officer was justified in grabbing a 14-year-old boy by the neck and taking him down because he was only trying to keep the teen safe.
That was the consensus from the Round Rock Police Department internal affairs division this week, saying officer Rigo Valles will now be free to work the schools again.
The student, Gyasi Hughes, was suspended for fighting with another student for several days, but Valles was only reassigned to allow the investigation to take place.
In a video that went viral, two School Resource Officers can be seen talking to Hughes. Less than a minute into the video, Officer Valles can be seen grabbing the student by the neck and taking him down to the floor.
Police say the situation started as a disagreement between two male students. Two Round Rock Police School Resource Officers (SROs) were requested by administrators to assist with a fight in the cafeteria because they were unable to “de-escalate the fight and needed police assistance.” Administrators told police one of the student’s involved refused to comply.
Police say the SROs tried to calm the student down but he still wanted to continue the altercation with the other student. “After repeated attempts to calm the non-compliant student, and stop him from going after the other student, officers were forced to detain him for his safety and the safety of others,” continued RRPD in a statement from October.
“Finally I asked him (the officer) to leave me alone and that’s the point when he grabbed me and took me down and tried to detain me,” said Hughes of the altercation. “I was just very upset, I was amped up over the fight and wasn’t really thinking. I apologized to the officer.”
But the local chapter of the NAACP is now calling for a Department of Justice investigation.
“Are you telling me you can choke a kid on school campus, and body slam him and that’s your policy? Look at the whole nation, does anybody think we’re going to accept that?” says Nelson Linder, Austin NAACP president. Linder says he doesn’t believe Round Rock police conducted a thorough investigation. “We’re going to call for a DOJ investigation and there are legal efforts already taken place.”
Although the Round Rock Police Department found nothing wrong in how Valles handled the situation, last week it participated in training school resources officers, focusing on the “roles of SROs in schools and the laws and regulations associated with officers in schools.”