Detroit, MI — A disturbing video uploaded to YouTube, shows a high school sophomore being pushed, kicked, dragged, and pepper sprayed by a Detroit Public Schools Public Safety Officer. The victim’s alleged crime — using the elevator with an expired pass.
The victim of the attack was 15-year-old Destiny heard and her attacker was Officer Charles Braziel.
According to the sophomore student, as reported by VICE,
the incident began after she arrived to school late and decided to use the elevator to get to her class on the sixth floor. Inside, a teacher asked to see her elevator pass, and when she produced an expired slip, Heard says she was told to get out. When she lingered by the elevator, the teacher accused her of trying to get back on and called a security officer. After a brusque exchange where Heard was asked to produce her identification, she says she headed to the second floor, where she was greeted by another security officer and then Orlando Bogins, the school’s dean of students.
At this point, reports VICE, Heard says that Bogins—who had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication—began yelling at her for being insubordinate. She says she asked him not to shout at her in the hall, and when he continued to yell, she put her earbuds back on to ignore him. As Bogins continued to reprimand her, Heard says Officer Braziel came over and told her to give him her phone connected to the headphones. She refused, she says, at which point the officer apparently seized it from her, and in the process pushed her to the ground.
Around this point in time, the student claims, Bogins walked away, leaving her alone with the school cop. She says the officer told her to get up, and when she said no, instead asking for medical attention, he grabbed her. Seconds later, the incident on camera began, according to the teen.
While this 15-year-old girl was kneeling on the floor, Braziel douses her face with pepper spray. As Heard sits on the ground, likely in incredible pain from the chemical agent in her eyes, nose and mouth, Braziel hovers over her trying to force her to stand up.
Eventually, this hero officer grabs the young girl’s hair, drags her a short distance, and kicks her, before picking her up and carrying her off. Naturally, as she’s being beaten and manhandled by this man, Heard flails her arms and legs in an attempt to get away.
Heard was then taken to the hospital and listed in tempory serious condition. She was later suspended from school for 30 days after being attacked by this cop.
In true police form, according to wxyz.com, Braziel criminally charged Heard for assaulting him.
“I truly did not expect anything like this to happen when I went to school. I’ve read about police brutality and read about it happening at other schools, but you don’t think, Oh I am going to school, and this is what’s going to happen to me. I was absolutely hysterical and surprised, I didn’t understand what I did wrong,” said Heard in her interview with VICE.
After the video became public, Michelle Zdrodowski, executive director of communications for Detroit Public Schools, issued the following statement to VICE:
“The Detroit Public Schools Police Department conducted a thorough investigation beginning on December 12, 2015 in response to a complaint filed surrounding the actions in the video. Judge [Steven] Rhodes has reviewed the video, documentation involved in this investigation and is satisfied that this matter was appropriately addressed by the Detroit Public Schools Police Department. Consistent with Judge Rhodes’ commitment to transparency, the District is releasing the report filed by the Detroit Public Schools Police Department regarding the incident in question. In adherence to the FERPA law, names of students have been redacted.
According to the DPS Police Department’s final report, it was deemed that the officer followed proper procedures as outlined in the Force Continuum Policy contained in the DPS Police Officer Manual. In addition, the report outlines that several witnesses were interviewed, statements were consistent and the conclusions were justified by the evidence.”
“I don’t care what the girl did leading up to this, this is wrong, this is police brutality,” says Joel Berger, an English teacher at the school who found out about the incident on Thursday. “In class discussions, students sometimes broach the topic of police brutality, but it is truly shocking and heartbreaking to see an example of it hit so close to home.”