Those quick to jump on parents and the school might be interested to learn that, according to a story in the New York Daily News, State Rep. Todd Rutherford, an influential Democrat, said that the teen recently lost her mother and is living in a foster home.
But even more interesting is an interview that Chris Hayes had with Niya Kenny, who was one of the people who shot a video.
According to Ms. Kenny, before the video starts, “she was asked to leave the classroom. She refused to leave the classroom, and our teacher then called an administrator in the class, and she still refused to leave, then Deputy Ben Fields was called in.”
Ms. Kenny confirmed “she was looking at her phone,” but “she’s a quiet girl. She doesn’t do anything to anyone in the class, it was really because she wouldn’t give up her phone.”
Ms. Kenny claims that the teacher demanded the phone, the girl didn’t turn it over, so the administrator was called and asked her to leave. When she refused, Deputy Fields was called.
Another student, Tony Robinson, was interviewed. He explained, “We were doing an assignment on the computer and I believe the girl had her phone out. And so our teacher, Mr. Long, came over, asked for the phone, she denied, she said ‘No’. Then shortly after that he threatened to call an administrator, he did, he came, when he came the administrator tried to get her to move, and pled with her to get out of the seat, she still denied, because y’know she hadn’t done anything wrong.”
He continued, “She said she had took her phone out, but it was only for a quick second, she was kinda begging, kinda apologetic about what happened and everything. Next the administrator called the resource officer, Deputy Fields, and when he came in the first thing that he said was he asked my friend to move the desk. And to me, that was a sign off, he could already tell what he was about to do. As far as the precaution he was gonna take for that student.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Rutherford said that he intends to change the state law allowing police to arrest students for being disruptive in case.
“He weighs about 300 pounds,” Mr. Rutherford would tell a local TV station. “She is a student who is 16 years old, who now has a cast on her arm, a band aid on her neck, and neck and back problems. There’s something wrong here.”
While some students evidently backed up Officer Fields, others said he had a reputation for violence among students.
“I’ve heard about him, so I wasn’t really surprised, because I’ve heard so much about him,” Niya Kenny told Chris Hayes. “Before he came to the class, I was actually telling [classmates], ‘Take out your cameras because I feel like this is gonna go downhill because I’ve heard so much about him.’”
“He’s known as ‘Officer Slam’ around our school,” Ms. Kenny replied. “I’ve heard he’s in the past slammed pregnant women, teenage girls. He’s known for slamming.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting