Cops Break Saggin’ Sophomore’s Arm and Taser Him

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Two Derby, Kansas police officers, acting as school resource officers, ordered Jonathan Villarreal, 17, to pull his pants above his waist. Jonathan was walking with friends to the bus after school let out, and he told the officers he would wear his pants how he wanted. According to Jonathan, one of the officers pulled him to the ground and both officers kneed him in the back and neck. During the struggle, Jonathan’s arm was broken and he was tased.

The officers handcuffed him until paramedics ordered the cuffs removed. Jonathan was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he was treated and released.

The police claim that Villarreal used profanities when officer asked him to pull up his pants. The officers tried to escort Villarreal back inside the school, but he refused to go.

Derby Police Chief Robert Lee said his department will investigate to see if the use of force was appropriate.

If the police officers have nothing better to do than to enforce dress codes after school is out, maybe their presence and corresponding expense are unnecessary. The police should be there to respond to criminal conduct or imminent danger, school officials should be enforcing dress codes.

This is an example of the School-to-Prison Pipeline, wherein minor offenses are dealt with using the juvenile and criminal justice system. Often these minor offense escalate due to over aggressive policing. The blame for this situation lies squarely with school officials. They seem more interested in preserving their authority than in providing an educational opportunity for every child. Challenging authority is a virtue, not a vice. This country was founded on the restriction of authority and the celebration of the individual.

Being arrested nearly doubles the odds that a child will drop out of school, and if there is a court appearance, the odds are nearly quadrupled. Disproportionately, it kids of color who are victims of these police tactics.

H/T: ACLU, The Wichita Eagle.

60 thoughts on “Cops Break Saggin’ Sophomore’s Arm and Taser Him

  1. I think both the teen and the police officers did something wrong in this incident. On the teen’s part, he should have wear his pants with decency while on the other hand, the police officers should not act that way even if the teen used profanities. Indeed the act of arresting the teen/child will increase the chance of dropping out in school because of the trauma. To discipline teens requires a constant supervision. We may send them to boot camps. Boot camps are physically and mentally challenging programs that will help strip away old attitudes and change to new attitudes. You may find more information about boot camps here .

  2. “If everyone do their job of protecting themselves and their properties, then police would definitely not be needed at all in the first place. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.” ChaZ

    Oh, the expression “I could talk myself blue in the face”…

  3. BelgianBrain said:

    “The economics behind the police force have it that a cop should at least prevent crime to the amount of his own wage to make himself economically valuable… having cops enforce dresscode is simply unsustainable, uneconomical, unreasonable. Fire all of them, it’s not like they’re helping…”

    That’s the problem, we have no way of knowing which crime a police officer could have stopped just by being in the neighborhood (as they drive around in their police car or walk on street), and if we do not know which crimes that could have been committed if it wasn’t for the presence of local authorities, then we will never know the real cost of the crime that might have happened in order to calculate the so called “economical-ness” of having police officers on site.

    I work as a free lance security consultant and locksmith, I always tell people that they should not depend on police presence for crime prevention in their work place, in their residence. I tell them to lock their doors, install alarm system, and be more vigilant about their self defense (either by being armed or other possible measures). I am always totally honest with other people that police could not always prevent crime but we will do our best. That we are more of “historian” (putting down everything in police reports) than “guard”.

    If everyone do their job of protecting themselves and their properties, then police would definitely not be needed at all in the first place. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

  4. The economics behind the police force have it that a cop should at least prevent crime to the amount of his own wage to make himself economically valuable… having cops enforce dresscode is simply unsustainable, uneconomical, unreasonable. Fire all of them, it’s not like they’re helping…

  5. Let me add this, lest you misunderstand. I believe that there are good cops, and you very well may be one of them, but the rotten ones are making it harder for the good ones…

    There are cops in my family…

  6. ChaZ,

    I’ll have to read and respond to this later… Duty beckons…, but

    re: All cops I have worked with, they do not like having to perform arrest because it involves more paperwork.

    So. Are you saying that cops would like to arrest more people, if only it didn’t involve so much paperwork??? 🙂

    Will get back to this later.

  7. Anon-

    You are right, this shouldn’t have escalated at all. But do please keep in mind that not everyone will be compliant and cooperative with policy enforcers. There will always be people who will do anything not to get arrested or go to jail. Believe me, police officers have wonderful people skills, and they do NOT like to arrest people for small thing. They would rather just tell others not to do so-so or please stop from doing so-so stuff, but if people for no reason other than their stupidity, they make thing worse by talking back to us, making threats, or say something that would only make things more complicated.

    All cops I have worked with, they do not like having to perform arrest because it involves more paperwork. Have you ever talked with a police officer as a friend? Have you ever really see what they do on an every day basis, dealing with many different people with different kind of problems?

    If you did, you wouldn’t have this funny on-going knee-jerk reaction of responding to every situation that involves police officers as calling them gestapos, thugs, nazis, and et cetera.

    My point is, we do not have whole story from both side about this situation and we won’t know for sure until they’re done with their investigation. Maybe later on we’ll find out that the student did try to assault the SROs but was put down on the floor quickly or something like that.

  8. “Was his arm broken because of his violation of dress code? Nope, it’s because he resisted arrest. Simple and plain. Please don’t fall for the mass media’s sensationalism when they try to connect arm-breaking to dress code violation. Please use your brains, guys. I expected better from you. Really…” -ChaZ

    What a crock… This needn’t have escalated, as it did. There were better and more effective ways to have handled the “problem.” I don’t need to spell them out because most of the folks here are very good at “using their brains”, as evidenced by many of the previous commments.

  9. The good guy role, the bad guy role.

    School Resource Officers (SRO) are often tasked with different duties such as providing safety and security for the staff and student on property of schools. They are also responsible for patrolling around the campus to ensure that there are no public property defacing on the outside of the building and inside the restrooms. To ensure that students are not using/selling/delivering drugs in parking lot, and also make sure no students are performing sexual acts in cars on parking lot or in restroom.

    Long time ago, teacher was responsible for both education and discipline. Now, they feel that they no longer could perform in their capacity as an educator in the field of discipline because it would increase students’ resistance to learning if disciplined by teachers so that is why school policy enforcement role was passed on to SRO.

    Now, I know some of you may not agree with the dress code in school, but as a former teacher aide in the past, all teachers and principals I have worked with have supported dress code fully because it creates stability in our classrooms and prevent distraction from education. Of course, gang problem was later added to the primal reason of dress codes. Gang members can be identified via color of their shirt, the way they wear their head gears, and how they carry themselves (walking funny, swaying, flashing gang signs).

    With school policy enforcement switched to SRO, unfortunately, they may seem look like bad guys because they’re the ones that enforce it. Teachers and Principal got lucky to be viewed as the good guy role.

    Now, here’s how I see it.

    A kid who pulls his pants down after leaving the school, after the school hours BUT still on property of school is still a violation of dress code and of course, guess who is responsible for enforcing it? Yep, it’s the SROs who have to do the dirty deed.

    They do their job by telling him to pull it up, but he refuses to cooperate and let loose his dirty mouth, which resulted in SROs asking him to go back to school building to work out the matter but the student refused.

    Now you know why he was arrested. Was his arm broken because of his violation of dress code? Nope, it’s because he resisted arrest. Simple and plain. Please don’t fall for the mass media’s sensationalism when they try to connect arm-breaking to dress code violation. Please use your brains, guys. I expected better from you. Really…

  10. It’s obvious that many police officers are getting little or no training in dealing with the public – of any age. Further, does it not appear that police recruiters have a penchant for swelling the ranks with mindless thugs? I see it all the time in the actions of the strutting Nazis employed by the police department of the small southern community in which I teach. Adolf Eichmann was captured with more civility than is brought to bear on folks who are caught here going five miles an hour over the speed limit.

    I hope the increasing number of incidents such as are regularly reported by Prof. Turley will spark a national investigation into the recruiting and hiring practices of police departments. We don’t need any more officers whose only “resource” is brutality.

  11. Bette Noir,

    On point… Well said. It would be funny, if it weren’t so damn serious…

  12. As hinted upthread, clothing styles frequently serve as an identifier of gang membership. I submit that the gang most disruptive of community peace is that which signifies membership by wearing crisp blue uniforms, or, in some jurisdictions, khaki.

  13. I have always wanted to be able to wear my pants that way…but at my age I think I would look down right silly. What business did the cop have detaining the kid anyway? Are they trying to say this was Terry vs Ohio detention? Perhaps the lad had some WMD stashed between his butt cheeks. Yeah right, I suspect this was a detention for that awful offense of Contempt of Cop.

  14. I’m sure the cops will do a “nothing to see, move along” in their investigation. The thug look is rather stupid and past it’s pull date, but fashion choices aren’t exactly a reason for tasing. Even if he did mouth off, that wouldn’t justify the taser or the broken arm. Thuggish cops are one reason why many people have little respect for law enforcement.

  15. I’m with the Principle in that video…it’s not normal and if we don’t want kids to think it’s normal then it should not be an everyday occurance. Teachers need the authority to set some limits….and enfrce them. Cops on campus as an everyday
    method to ‘keep safe’ is insanity.

    It is like storing kerosene and matches together next to the woodpile. There are better ways……..

  16. pete asks, “how would the officers have reacted if mr. villarreal walked up to them and began commenting on their clothes or general appearance.”

    I’d have to say just about the same as they reacted here: with a tasing and beat down.

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