The Feb. 9 encounter outside Durango High School in suburban Las Vegas unfolded while officers were investigating a report of a firearm near the campus.
THE THIN BLUE LINE
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A school police officer in Las Vegas was captured on cellphone video last week slamming a high school student to the ground and pinning him underneath his knee, prompting an investigation and renewed calls from Nevada activists who want to see police removed from schools and more resources for students.
The video circulating on social media begins with several district police officers detaining two students as another student walks by recording with his cellphone. One of the officers yells to the student, “You want next, dude?”
The student backs away, lowering his phone, before the officer shoves him to the ground next to a patrol vehicle, its lights flashing red and blue. Students in the background can be heard yelling to the officer, “You can’t have him on the ground like that!”
The officer kneels on the student’s back as he lies face-down on the pavement, keeping his knee there until the video ends about 30 seconds later. At one point, the student can be heard asking his friends to call his mother.
The roughly minute-long video of the encounter has been viewed thousands of times on Twitter, with one of several of the posts circulating the video viewed about 50,000 times.
Student Deon Wallace told FOX5 that he was handcuffed by police for jaywalking outside the high school and watched as his friend was slammed to the ground. He said the way the officer used his knee to hold down his friend, who is Black, reminded him of the 2020 killing of George Floyd.
The American Civil Liberties Union in Nevada has been retained by some of the Las Vegas students for assistance with possible future litigation. “The police response here was so extreme,” said West Juhl, a spokesperson for the ACLU. “We’re just coming off the heels of one of the best examples of the need for police accountability in Memphis, and here we have adult police officers assaulting children.”
Juhl commended the Las Vegas students for continuing to record the police encounter last week — even after they witnessed one of their friends being slammed to the ground as he pointed a camera at the officers.
“It’s so upsetting to watch the video and to have such a strong reaction because they’re children,” Juhl said, “and to have that mixed with this feeling of, ‘Thank God, they got it on video.’”
The thug officer Lt. Jason Elfberg has been reassigned while the incident is investigated. The department has not released the body camera or dashboard camera videos.