EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office is defending the actions of one of their deputies who corrected a child at a bus transfer point Tuesday afternoon, March 14.
When you watch the video, now viral on Facebook, it appears to show an EBR deputy throwing a 7th grader at Westdale Middle School to the ground. "He coulda' broke his hip, his arm, or anything," said the mother of the teen thrown to the ground.
The mother of the teen, who doesn't want to be identified, said her 13-year-old son was fighting another student at a bus transfer site when deputies rushed in to break it up.
"He was involved in a fight and was wrong for fighting, but yes, the officer was wrong for taking and slamming him on the ground. That's not the proper way to break up a fight," said the mom.
In the mother's eyes, one of the deputies responded with extreme force; not necessary for a boy who weighs only 80 pounds.
Casey Hicks, a spokeswoman for EBRSO, told WAFB deputies sometimes need to use force to neutralize such a situation. Hicks points out the video does not show what happened just before the deputy grabbed the student.
The teen's mom feels differently. "They shoulda' broke it up. They shoulda' went and separated them and not just go tossing them about like they a bunch of rag dolls," said the mom.
As far as other options for the deputy, Hicks said, "Rather than deploy a taser or pepper spray that may affect those around the subjects fighting, the deputy physically removed the juvenile. Had the deputy tried to physically restrain the juvenile while he was combative, he may have then been required to use additional force, which could have resulted in injury."
"It is unfortunate when law enforcement must intervene due to individuals choosing to engage in violent behavior," Hicks added.
The mom said her son's back was examined by a doctor and he was cleared of injury. He does have bruises and minor cuts on his arm. "I really didn't believe it and then I really didn't believe that an officer actually did that to a little child," she said.