A former student of mine sent me this disturbing story about students at Jack Robey Junior High School in Pine Bluff being pepper-sprayed when they failed to go to their classes fast enough after lunch. One mother says that her daughter suffered a severe allergic reaction to the spray.
School superintendent Jerry Payne confirmed the use of the pepper-spray by an officer because students were moving too slow to their classes. The officer reportedly said that he sprayed toward the ground as opposed directly at the students. That is hardly an improvement. The idea of spraying a painful caustic substance into a hall as a crowd motivator is the definition of not just negligence but assault and battery.
There is an obvious basis here for a lawsuit if these facts are confirmed. Not only can a tort case be filed, it would seem a valid case for not just compensatory but punitive damages if they are allowed. Both the school and the police department are potential defendants as well as the individual officer since this was done within the scope of his employment. While officers are given limited immunity in civil cases, such immunity is generally lost in cases of abusive treatment in violation of both law and policy. This would appear such a case. No police department endorses the use of pepper spray as a crowd motivator.
Kudos: Casey Fos