Video Shows Florida Deputy Violently Yanking Middle Schooler’s Hair During Arrest

Pilar Melendez

A white Florida school resource deputy has been removed from his position—and faces termination—after a viral video showed him violently yanking a black middle-school girl’s head during an arrest, authorities said Friday.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said Friday that the officer, who has not been identified, used an “inappropriate amount of force” on the Westridge Middle student during the Thursday incident in a parking lot.

A video of the encounter, which was first reported by the Orlando Sentinel, was widely shared on Facebook, and shows the officer grabbing the top of the girl’s head and forcefully pulling it backwards—after she’d already been apprehended. 

“I am very upset by what I saw on that video,” Orange County Sheriff John Mina said in a Friday statement. “The actions of this deputy appear to violate some of the most important values and expectations that I have set as sheriff. The type of behavior I witnessed on the video and on body worn camera video will not be tolerated.” 

In call-for-service log obtained by The Daily Beast summarizing the incident, the altercation began as a large “verbal fight between multiple students” stemming from “incidents at school this week and last week.”

According to body-camera footage obtained by The Daily Beast, the other deputy on scene arrived at the parking lot to find a group of students arguing.

That deputy, who is wearing a camera, walks up to the Westridge Middle school girl, who is visibly upset and restrained by three other girls.

“What’s going on?” the deputy asks, according to the footage. “You’re acting wild, come over here. Relax. Sit down.”

While that officer attempts to calm the student down, the other deputy approaches and starts yelling at the group.

“You’re the one that started this shit in school,” the deputy says, before pushing the girl against the back of the patrol car. “I’m tired of this,” he adds.

In another one-minute video, the middle-school girl—wearing a black tank top, leggings, and a white scarf on her head—is seen screaming near the car while the two white deputies try to restrain her. Both deputies are seen grabbing her arms before holding them behind her back. One deputy then grabs the top of her head and jerks it backward as a crowd of people assembled nearby urges him to stop. 

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The deputy continues to hold the student’s head back, while he and his partner walk her to a police car. A woman is then seen approaching the two officers in the video, trying to talk to them while the girl is still restrained. 

Suddenly, the deputy pulls out his baton, extending it to its full length before yelling, “Back off! I am tired of everybody here.” He then places the student inside the car. 

“This is because you’re silly. You all stupid little children,” the deputy tells the crowd after slamming his baton on the ground. 

The sheriff’s office said the girl was not arrested but was briefly detained before being released to a parent.

While the deputy’s name has not been released, a sheriff’s office spokesperson said he was hired in February from another law enforcement agency. The second deputy involved in the video was not mentioned by police. 

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