OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump is now representing an Osceola County high school student who was caught on video being slammed to the ground by a school resource officer.
A video posted on social media shows Deputy Ethan Fournier, a school resource officer at Liberty High School, throwing a girl to the ground while trying to restrain her.
This beautiful young lady is 16yo Taylor Bracey. SRO Deputy Ethan Fournier body-slammed her this week, leaving her unconscious as she hit the hard concrete floor of her Kissimmee FL high school. We must hold Fournier accountable! Sign petition:— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) January 30, 2021
The video shows Fournier slamming the student onto a concrete walkway. Moments later, the deputy can be seen placing the student in handcuffs while a second deputy stands over them. As the handcuffs are being placed on the girl, she does not appear to move.
“You can’t convince me Taylor Bracey did anything to justify this brutality,” Crump said.
During a news conference Saturday, attorneys for the 16-year-old explained what demands they have for the county following the incident.
- Repeal Florida State Law requiring that at least one police officer or armed guardian be present in every school (most schools opt for police) and require statewide certification for SROs that include training in de-escalation, child psychology, anger management and conflict resolution.
- Fire the Osceola Sheriff’s deputy involved in this assault and guarantee that he will not work as a school resource officer elsewhere in the future.
- Any investigation into this incident should be led by a community task force, not law enforcement or the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
- Ensure that no suspensions are made and no charges are filed against any of the students involved in this incident, including those who recorded and shared video on social media.
- Ensure that impacted students have continued access to education, including but not limited to, a right return to Liberty High School (if desired), and that none of the involved students are involuntarily transferred, but welcomed back to school.
- Provide emotional, social and mental health support and resources to the students involved, including those who witnessed this assault, and their families.
- Implement school-wide restorative justice at Liberty High School in order to create a nurturing school climate.
- Require the protection and safety of Black and all oppressed youth who organize to protest against state violence and to protect themselves from all forms of violence.
The sheriff’s office said the girl was treated at the school and is doing fine.
The sheriff said Fournier has been placed on paid administrative leave as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates the incident. He said the deputy was trying to stop a disruption at a school function and the girl was not complying with his demands.
Taylor Bracey’s mother, Jamesha Bracey, still can’t believe the actions by the school resource officer. She told News 6 the deputy’s actions are inexcusable as her daughter continues to recover.
“My daughter is having headaches, blurry vision,” Jamesha Bracey said. “She’s having trouble remembering things. Having a hard time sleeping.”
“I’m not that much of a talker, but I just want to see justice for my daughter,” said Monquell Bracey, Taylor Bracey’s father.
Crump, who has previously represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Jacob Blake, released a statement Thursday, calling on Fournier to be fired and arrested.
“I would not allow that to happen to my child,” Crump said. “It’s unacceptable.”
Taylor Bracey’s parents said she’s still recovering physically and emotionally.
“It’s depressing,” Jamesha Bracey said. “She’s depressed, I’m depressed. We are all traumatized about what happened.”
The sheriff said Fournier has been with the agency for 10 years and does not have a history of misconduct.