79ºF

Student whose hair was pulled by school resource officer intends to sue Orange County Sheriff’s Office

Deputy facing criminal battery charges over incident

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The Westridge Middle School student who had her hair pulled by an Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy in a viral video last year said she was scared when she was forced into a squad car. Her attorneys say they intend to file a lawsuit against the Orange County Sheriff’s office over the incident.

Wilmica Edmond, 13, spoke publicly about the incident Wednesday, a day after officials with Orange-Osceola State Attorney’s Office announced former Orange County deputy Harry Reid will be charged with battery for pulling the teen’s hair.

Represented by her attorneys, Edmond said she tries not to think about what happened to her on Nov. 7, 2019 when Reid overtook another deputy who was already on scene handling a fight that broke out between Edmond and a classmate. She said Reid never told her why he grabbed her hair and forced her into his squad car. She said she was scared because she wasn’t doing anything wrong.

“Some (officers) are not doing the right thing,” Edmond said.

Edmond said the first officer she was speaking to before Reid arrived was a good officer.

Reid was working as a school resource officer at Westridge Middle School and was fired after a cellphone video went viral showing him pulling Edmond’s hair and drawing baton while yelling at other students on Nov. 7, 2019.

“I was like why is he doing that because I wasn’t doing nothing to him,” Edmond said.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina released a statement Wednesday:

“The type of behavior I witnessed on the video and on body worn camera video of Harry Reid was in violation of some of the most important values and expectations I have set as Sheriff," Mina said. "The behavior was not and is not tolerated at our agency. Our Office took swift action in this case and Reid was terminated. After our investigation, we sent the information gathered to the State Attorney’s Office.”

The sheriff’s office said Reid was hired with Orange County in February 2019 after working in law enforcement in North Carolina. They told News 6 all school resource deputies go through training including crisis intervention training.

Edmond’s attorneys have not yet filed a lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Office but said they have let the department know of their intent to file. They said the lawsuit will investigate Reid’s hiring, training, retention and use of excessive force.

“A clear message across the country that when officers step over the line and use excessive force that’s not going to be tolerated and there will be consequences,” the victim’s attorney Ryan Fletcher said.

Edmond’s lawyers said they’re questioning training for all deputies who work in schools.

“How did he get there? Should he have been there? Probably Not all officers are equipped to be in our schools,” the victim’s attorney Greg Francis said.

“I feel better,” Edmond said. “I feel better because ⌊the State Attorney’s Office⌋ is charging ⌊Reid⌋, and maybe he will learn his lesson.”

You can watch Edmond’s full remarks in the video below.


About the Author: