OAKLAND, Calif. — A newly released surveillance video appears to show two security guards at a California high school assaulting a special needs student in a wheelchair.
According to KTVU, the Oakland school district discovered the footage from the incident on May 19 and turned it over to police.
The video begins with student Francisco Martinez, 17, smiling as the security officer Marchell Mitchell wheels him to the elevator. Two other students and another security guard are standing with them.
Everything seems fine until about 30 seconds later.
Francisco and Mitchell begin fighting over control of the wheelchair. The second guard steps in and during the scuffle, Francisco goes down to the floor. Mitchell appears to kick him in the head, dragging the student into the elevator.
At one point, you see the two guards on top of Francisco inside the elevator.
Francisco, who has cerebral palsy, told KTVU last Friday that he still has pain from injuries to his head, neck and back which he said occurred during the incident.
He said that the Mitchell “throws me to the corner of the elevator and then grabs my chair.”
Video released last week allegedly shows Mitchell after the elevator reached the upper floor rolling Francisco down the hall and striking the teen, after Francisco spit at the officer. Mitchell then appears to pull Francisco to the ground and beat him.
The district says Mitchell was fired and arrested immediately after the May 19 incident.
The second guard has been identified as Shalandra Cotton. She is being placed on administrative leave.
“The event was egregious to begin with. There’s no excuse for an adult to behave like this in a violent manner,” said Troy Flint, the Oakland Unified School District Spokesman. Flint said the district sends its deepest apologies to Francisco and his family. He also says that district is taking a hard look at how to restructure their employee training to better train employees to de-escalate disputes.
Francisco’s attorney Ronald Cruz sent KTVU a statement saying:
“The attack on Francisco Martinez is appalling. We are glad that Mitchell has been fired and jailed, and that the second officer has been suspended. We are conducting our own investigation and will pursue legal channels to obtain justice and defend the rights of Latina/o and black students and students with disabilities in our public schools.”