Oklahoma City, OK - A school resource officer was recently arrested after he was caught assaulting a student on a surveillance recording. The student had reportedly been in the hallway without a pass, and after he was confronted by officer Thomas Jaha, he went to get a drink of water.
Since he did not leave the hallway immediately and go directly back to class, Jaha went into a rage and attacked the 16-year old boy. Jaha is now facing a misdemeanor assault charge.
Jaha says that the student took an "aggressive stance" so he began to strike the boy, and it was all caught on the school's video surveillance camera.
“He struck a student twice in the head after this student got in an aggressive stance and faced the master sergeant,” Capt. Paco Balderrama of the Oklahoma City Police Department said.
In the video, the student can be seen walking out of the bathroom with the officer, and while, on his way back to class, he stops at the water fountain for a drink. The water fountain was directly next to the bathroom that they were walking out of, and the teen did not have to go out of his way or waste any time to get a drink of water. The student's choice to get a drink of water along the way was seen as a sign of disrespect by the officer, who then took it upon himself to assault the boy.
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While the teenager did not hit the officer at any time, the officer claims that he hit him in self-defense because the boy allegedly took an aggressive stance and balled his fists, which is not depicted in the video.
“They have the right to defend themselves. They have the right to use physical force to protect themselves, protect the public. And in this particular case, the force was not appropriate to the incident,” Balderrama said.
The student was arrested for disorderly conduct after the incident, but then after the surveillance footage surfaced it was apparent that he didn't do anything wrong, and it was officer Jaha who was at fault.
Although he has been charged with assault he is still on the police force and suspended with pay.
John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter-culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work, he organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.