ACLU files lawsuit on behalf of Mid-South students - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

ACLU files lawsuit on behalf of Mid-South students

By Janice Broach - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

OUTHAVEN, Miss. (WMC-TV) - The DeSoto County School district and Southaven Police Department are accused of racial discrimination in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU.

The families of six students of an alternative school claim police officers verbally and physically abused their children on a school bus last August.

The bus driver called police after students got into an argument.

According to the lawsuit, the two officers called to the scene used excessive force, and the incident was captured by a security camera on the bus.

It's alleged a 17-year-old boy was tasered and a 15-year-old girl was choked.

A parent who asked to remain anonymous to protect the identity of her minor daughter said she was disturbed by what she saw on the video. "After I saw that tape, I was devastated. I was shocked, I was stunned, I was angry, I was upset. I could see the frustration on my child's face."

A student opened a bus window to tell bystanders what was happening. On the tape, an officer can be heard saying, "Pull her neck through and chop it off."

The ACLU alleges another officer said to laughing students, "You think this is funny?", and "Who wants to try me?".

In another instance, the lawsuit alleges an officer "grabbed a teenage girl by the neck, flung her down into the adjacent seat with her upper body pressed up against the window."

Police arrested the six black students involved in the argument, but not the one white student.

DeSoto County Schools released a statement the following statement: "Safety is our number one priority at school. And when students are on a school bus, they are still at school. There is no excuse for fighting at school or on the bus. When a disturbance broke out, the African American female bus monitor called the Southaven Police Department for help."

The ACLU wants a jury to decide the case.

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