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April 26, 2014

All too often we are reminded of the ever-encroaching police state by reading about incidents happening all over the country. It hits you a little differently when you hear about a child being abused and detained by your own local police department.

This was the reality for me today when I heard that local 17-year old, Joseph Turner was aggressively detained by the Boise Police Department in his own school, Frank Church High School.

What's even more astounding is that as the incident was happening, school officials took it upon themselves to confiscate the phones of students who were recording the incident. Information on Idaho Code in regards to filming police can be found here.

According to multiple eye-witness accounts, School Resource Officer Kane and School Security Officer Espinoza did indeed use excessive force.

Friend to Turner and eyewitness Rainy Sargent said, "I did not witness much of the fight, but what I did see was horrific. Both the SRO and the security guard were using excessive force. I saw them slam his head into a wall, pull his hair, elbow, and knee him. Joe is a great kid. He keeps to himself most of them time, but he's a total sweetheart. I'm horrified this happened to him of all people."

When further asked on the background of the situation, Sargent stated, "I was talking to him this morning and he was telling me a lot has been going on in his life lately. He had been kicked out of his house last night, and had to sleep in an alley. He got kicked out of class because he had been sleeping."

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Carsten, a student at the school, whose last name has been removed for privacy reasons, described the incident in a Facebook post:

"An office aid told me it was because he was sitting in the hallway with his legs out, and the teachers didn't like having to step over his legs so they sent him to the office, then he got an attitude and it pretty much went from there.”

Career Counselor Wibble can be seen clearly trying to prevent anyone from filming the incident in the video.

We have been unable to obtain any other video footage at this time. We have been told by students that some people have yet to have their phones returned by faculty. Some students even complained that their phones were returned in inoperable condition.

No contact has been made with Turner by Awakened Citizen or any of his friends.

We are still learning more details about the incident and will provide them to you as they come in. It is unclear at this time whether Turner swung on the SRO, but based on eye-witness accounts, it is clear he presented no danger to faculty or any of his classmates. What is also very clear is that NO child should be subject to this kind of violent abuse, especially by those entrusted to protect him.

As you continue to read stories about police violence in other areas, don't wait to be reminded like I was that it CAN happen in your area. Chances are, it IS happening. As friend and classmate Derek Tucker stated, "I just don't wanna see this kid get assault on a officer."

If you would like to contact Boise Police Department with any questions regarding this incident, this can be done so here: 208-377-6790