School Police Officer Body-slammed a Black Student Half His Size at Rolesville High

On January 3, 2017, a viral video exposed a form of child abuse and bullying in the Wake County Public School System, NC. Officer De Los Santo, a School Resource Officer (SRO), body-slammed a student, Jasmine, to the ground. He was twice the size of Jasmine, who is African-American. Ahunna, another student at Rolesville High School, recorded the video.

Ahunna posted the video in her following tweet to express what she believed to be gross abuse of power from the SRO, a police officer assigned to the school.

She also tweeted, “it’s the fact that he took it WAY out of proportion when it wasn’t needed.”

She had no idea that her 9-second video would go viral:

So much so, shortly after Ahunna posts the video on Tweeter, almost 10 media network contact her requesting for more information on the incident or her permission to use the video. They include CNN and NBC, with more to come.

What is the public’s opinion on this incident?

Almost two hundred people tweet to Ahunna after seeing her “THIS. IS. NOT OKAY” tweet. It is interesting to read through them to judge the general level of humanity in our society. Certainly, there are different kinds of people and comments on the incident, besides those who simply want to know more about what happened. Let me categorize some of them:

1)  People feel sorry for what happened to Jasmine and are concerned, such as:

Ryan: “I’m sorry this happened is she ok.”

Francesca: “no not ok! This needs to stop! We are heading off a cliff! I hope she wasn’t hurt. I feel for her!”

Kim: “I hope she’s okay, girl. Sending both you, her and her family big hugs and positive healing vibes. So sorry this happened.”

Shug: “send my love & concern to her please. This is awful.”

Midian: “I hope she is ok?”

Emma: “This hurts my ❤️. I can’t believe this happened. I hope everyone is alright.”

 2)  People believe Jasmine deserved the slamming treatment, such as:

 Just: “LOL, BOOOOOOM, bet she won’t sass up again.  Needs to happen a lot more often until msg is delivered… #RESPECT THE LAW.”

Jon: “I agree a minor resisting an officer should not be tolerated.”

Jack: “if she was resisting arrest then he has every right to do that. although there may be a better way, this was not an illegal act.”

Melissa: “well obviously she wasn’t complying. Maybe you should show that part too.”

Some argue against the above comments:

 Take Back America: ‘So ridiculous!!  She didnt appear to be resist’n at all!  & she looks very small compared 2 him. Unnecessary!”

Krazybyeame: “OK I saw someone say that the girl didn’t comply so she pretty much deserved this! Nooo hell no sick of cops abusing power!!”

Cnfidently: “this [xxxx] is horrible and the fact that the lady is trying to justify his behavior is sickening.”

Moose: “justifying this is not only messed up but basically admits that the police are too incompetent and weak to deal w/ teenage girls.”

 3)  People believe Jasmine did not deserve the slamming no matter what she did prior to it, such as:

 FDR: “Before anyone says “oh SHOW the whole situation” there is no [xxxxxxx] need to throw this girl to the ground with such force. None.”

Jay: “no but rs he had no reason to slam her like that.”

Mountain: “aaaannd this is the part where white people say “you dont know what she did, show the whole video.”

Rome: “can somebody tell me who this officer is I’ll kick his [xxx] for that little girl don’t care what she did she doesn’t deserve that.”

4)  People believe the SRO’s action was excessive or highly inappropriate, such as:

 Lily: “That was so unnecessary.”

R.E.A.L Human Rights: “You are right, it is not OK.”

Exhausted: “that’s a cop?? Unbelievable. She weighs like 80 lbs soaking wet. He could have paralyzed or killed her.”

Sadsquatch: “making calls now. Who do we call when the police assault the people?  Excessive force is not okay.”

Kat: “That man could have killed that child!”

Republic: “I had to watch that twice to realize what the hell I just saw. This level of violence is insane.”

Barrel: “this is abuse of power.”

Dr: “No male weighing approximately 170-190 lbs. should ever put his hands on a female who weighs maybe 90-110 lbs. Arrest him!”

Shuri: “what the supporters of the use of this tactic won’t say is its designed for use ON AN ADULT!”

Timothy: “NEVER OK! Anywhere! Theres better ways to promote HS students to interact better, by keeping them moving from one class to next.”

Derek: “I am so sorry you and your classmates witnessed this. As a teacher, I am sickened.”

Fati: “I literally am sick to my stomach wallah.”

 5)  People believe the SRO’s action is a form of child abuse, such as:

 Jan.net: “He knows got damn well he was wrong, showing off! His [xxx] need to be kicked in jail for child abuse!”

Cece: “if I did that to MY kid, I’d be in cuffs for assault and lose custody. How is it OK that he did this to someone else’s kid?”

Machelle: “Absolutely despicable! The officer should be fired & charged with at least child abuse.”

DeMar: “he should be thrown in jail! That’s not a man. That’s not police work. That’s physical abuse of a minor.”

Irie: “if this were my daughter the would’ve put me under the jail and that’s a fact !!!”

Ripple: “a parent would go to jail 4 this.”

6)  People believe the SRO should be fired or sued, such as:

 Vonnie: “Is this acceptable police behavior on a petit child? The officer should be fired.”

Bhaktin: “It’s not ok!! – Not at all. Sue this guy and school board.”

Nikki: “This is obscene! [Jasmine] suffered concussion from Ofc. De Los Santos’ assault. He should be fired & charged.”

Glen: “Well I don’t know why he was there but it is definitely not okay. He should be fired and charges should be brought against him.”

7)  People believe the incident has something to do with racism, such as:

Stormy: “FBI’s warning of #WhiteSupremacists infiltrating #LawEnforcement nearly forgotten.”

Regina: “Void of all judgment, decency and concern for a CHILD. Excessive force. Racism always clouds heart & mind!”

Machelle: “Crazy! They don’t treat white kids like this. Sickening!”

[Keira: “This isnt a racial matter. Officer Santos isn’t white either & last year he slammed a white girls head on the counter. He also pepper sprayed up in the air while there was a fight with two latinos. It isn’t a racial matter…”]

8)  People believe even if Jasmine “looks” physically fine, she is still not “ok,” such as:

Karen: “no honey, her body may be ok, but trust &believe, her spirit is destroyed! She’ll need counseling at least.”

Cherrio: “Slammed into a concrete floor, then immediately pulled up by her arm. HUGE medical liabilities here in NO way acceptable!”

Clevah: “Please make sure she gets medical help…she could have a concussion, broken ribs, etc. The actions of this officer are NOT ok.”

Crescent: “This Officer just body slammed a female child at school.  She could have internal damage from being slammed like this.”

Nikki: “[Jasmine] suffered concussion from Ofc. De Los Santos’ assault..,”

Kenichi: “… her arm lowkey broken.”

9)  People believe the public should know about this incident, such as:

 LaLa: “Glad you videotaped this. It’s too many of these incidents. Enough is enough..”

Lisa: “Good job getting this out there! From peeps in Savannah Georgia!”

 10)  People believe something is going wrong in America, such as:

 Betty: “OMG! What the hell is going on in our Country!! That poor girl! I hope she is ok! UGH!”

Carpenoctem: “this isn’t my America anymore.”

Forrest: “People get shot for less in America, she lucky.”

 Response from ACLU-North Carolina to the incident:

“Disturbing use of force at #rolesvillehigh that should never be used against kids in schools.”

So, out of the almost 200 Tweeters responding to Ahunna, how many percent of them believe the SRO’s action on Jasmine is abusive, reckless, or unnecessary? What happened before the SRO slams Jasmine on the ground?

What injuries did Jasmine sustain?… Plus many more questions to be answered next.

To be continued: Answers to many questions, such as:

What happened before the SRO slammed Jasmine on the ground?

What injuries did Jasmine sustain?

Is De Los Santos’ action an isolated incident of his at RHS?

Will there be a thorough and fair investigation on the incident?

Shirley Tang

About the author

Shirley Tang has devoted her life to students’ success. Drawn from personal experience, she founded uCANcomplain – an organization and platform that helps parents with children facing peer/adult bullying and discrimination in K-12 public schools. Shirley is an Educational and Civil Rights Advocate, a Mentor, Journalist, Policy Watchdog for the local community, and Former Educator. Her passion is to empower parents and students in seeking their voice, truth, redress, and school accountability. Shirley’s goal is to equip students for success by ensuring they receive a sound education and equitable opportunities.

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