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Deputy Placed on Leave After Slamming Student to Ground

Florida teen appeared to lose consciousness
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2021 12:50 PM CST

(Newser) – A school resource officer seen slamming a female high school student to the ground so forcefully that she appears to lose consciousness will be investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the local sheriff says. In a video circulated on social media, the deputy can been seen body-slamming the Black student onto a concrete walkway at Liberty High School in Kissimmee, CBS reports. As other students cry out, he then handcuffs the motionless student. Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez said Wednesday that Deputy Ethan Fournier will be placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation, per the AP. He said Fournier has no record of misconduct other than "minor damage to property."

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There will be "zero tolerance of any type of police misconduct," said the sheriff. He said his office has decided to pass the case on to state investigators in the interest of "utmost trust," the Orlando Sentinel reports. "We remove this burden off us and pass it on to a higher authority to ensure that no one can say that we’re looking out for our own," Lopez said. He said he has contacted the student's family and "the juvenile is fine." In a news release, the sheriff's office said the officer had been "in the process of trying to stop the student from fighting another student in the hallway when the deputy took her into custody." The Central Florida Jobs with Justice advocacy group called for the sheriff's office to ban Fournier from working as a school resource officer again and to reassign all SROs with a history of complaints. (Read more Florida stories.)

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