Cops ‘tried to put [student] in cuffs, but he felt like he wasn’t in the wrong and told the police not to touch him’
Members of the far-left Stanford University group Students for the Liberation of All People recently joined students from a local high school to protest alleged police misconduct against a pair of black students.
According to a Change.org petition, “two [Menlo-Atherton HS] Black students were handcuffed and harassed by police at the bus station following an altercation in the [school] office.”
“We do not condone violence in any way, and as advocates of restorative justice practices we do not believe there is any justification for the mistreatment students were subjected to at the bus stop,” the petition reads.
The Stanford Daily reports that after video of the bus station encounter (see screen capture) was posted on social media, Menlo-Atherton Principal Karl Losekoot said “You cannot watch the video from the police interaction and say it is not troubling. It is.”
But he added that “many misconceptions and inaccurate assumptions are being made.”
That’s because according to the Atherton Police Department, the catalyst for the incident was one of the students going to the school’s main office to demand the return of his water gun — which had been confiscated earlier.
The student ended up “physically assaulted a school administrator by pushing them into a cubicle wall, tried to push the administrator’s glasses off their face, spit on them, and called them derogatory homophobic slurs.”
As a result, the police were called, but before they arrived the student had left school and ended up at the bus stop.
“Rather than cooperate with the officer’s directives that he was being detained, the student refused to comply and instead started backing away,” the report says.
This didn’t matter to the protesters, as they marched from Menlo-Atherton to Menlo Park and back again (pictured). One Menlo-Atherton Black Student Union member said she hoped “the police department acknowledges what they did” because “all we know is you pinned down a child for no reason at all, other than the fact that he walked away from you.”
A witness at the bus stop said “They tried to put [the student] in cuffs, but he felt like he wasn’t in the wrong and told the police not to touch him. Then, next thing you know, they have him on the ground, and more and more police officers start showing up.”
Another student was arrested because he allegedly told police “I’m not gon’ let that [other arrest] happen” when the suspect student was being taken into custody.
BSU advisor Chloe Gentile-Montgomery was irked that the school allowed the water gun-desiring student to leave campus. She said if he had been kept in the office then “someone who could de-escalate him” might have been brought in.
The protesters’ petition demands:
— “De-escalation training for everyone on campus [which] includes staff, administrators, campus aides, students, and any parents that are interested.
— “Conflict mediators, de-escalation techniques, contacting parents, [and] other practices” before any police contact is made.
— The hiring of an additional counselor to “help with de-escalation.”
— Training of students to become “peer conflict mediators” so as to “advocate [for] the student.”
— “Ongoing conversations need to be had between the school district and Black Student Unions across the district to ensure that the needs of Black students are being met.”
A commenter to the petition who identified herself as a Menlo-Atherton teacher said she “was heartbroken but not surprised that this happened.”
“We see time and time again that adults are prioritizing racist institutions such as the police and school systems above the lives of our most marginalized students,” the commenter said.
The petition, started a week ago, currently has a little over half of the requested 1,000 signatures.
IMAGES: M-A Chronicle/YouTube screencap; NBC Bay Area/Twitter screencap