Police Reportedly Pepper Stray Junior High School Students For Failing To Move To Class Fast Enough After Lunch

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

Source: CW

52 thoughts on “Police Reportedly Pepper Stray Junior High School Students For Failing To Move To Class Fast Enough After Lunch

  1. You have my sympathy, Jo. I usually turn onto Interstate 40 to Memphis before I get to your exit when I am driving to Chicago. What series are you watching Blouise?

  2. Gene,

    lol … I read them … rather thee than me.

    By the way … the series you recommended I watch is great.

  3. Jo/Blouise,

    I’m having a very similar sensation right now involving science discussions on two threads here. I think I’m going to go lay down until the pain goes away.

  4. Jo,

    You have my sympathies. Back in the mid 70’s I was in Alabama, back in farm country, visiting my friend’s relatives. The closest town was 30 miles away and that town consisted of a store, a gas station, and a post office. We were supposed to stay a week moving from one relative’s house to another’s. After 5 days I told my friend I couldn’t take anymore and we made our excuses and left.

    What I couldn’t take was having to constantly muzzle myself. My friend still jokes about the number of times my mouth just dropped opened and my eyes bugged out totally shocked at what I was hearing. She then tells everyone that my face would get so red from the effort of trying to keep my mouth shut that her relatives thought I was always just a hair shy of “seizing up”.

    I felt damn lucky getting out of there before killing someone or getting killed. I didn’t last more than five days, I can’t imagine 28 months.

  5. I had to move to Beebe Ar (30 miles north of Little Rock) in Feb. due to hubby’s work. I have been vocal on this blog when Southerners are presumed to be ignorant and in general goobers. I had an argument with Mespo once about the lumping of all Southerners into the goober catagory. But Oh My Gawd these people in Ar have to climb quite a bit to hit Goober level.
    The local news reported the spraying of the students on only one chanel that I have seen because all the local news is caught up in THE SCANDAL. That is the fact that the coach of a football team had a motocycle accident and tried to keep it from comming out that he had a very attractive young woman as a passenger. The news reports are almost gleeful as they tell about the young woman “who is not his wife”
    The reporters smirk and give their “reports”‘ especially when the university released his phone records showing “so many” phone calls to and from “the young woman who is not his wife”
    Pepper spraying a bunch of kids is not very interesting when everyone just wants to spend the whole half hr rews show crowing that the sainted coach of the holy game was having sex “with a woman who is not his wife”

    Gawd only 28 months till I can go home!

  6. That officer took action way to quickly.. It seems that happens a great deal. It is stories like these that make the youth lose respect for police officers and people in power.

  7. “… not moving fast enough …”

    Do students now have minumum speed limits in school corridors, like the slow traffic lanes on freeways? Have school authorities posted these minimum speed limits so that the students can know of them and comply? Do schools now issue speedometer/odometers to students so that they can monitor and adjust their foot speed in accordance with the demands of officials responsible for them? What does “fast” mean? What does “enough” mean?

    Back in the 1960s, we had a name for police who abused their authority. We called them “pigs.” Looks like the psychotic porkers have returned with a vengeance.

  8. “No police department endorses the use of pepper spray as a crowd motivator.”

    Of course they don’t officially “endorse” it. They just somehow “permit” it. See? The word “endorse” doesn’t look or sound anything like the word “permit.” See? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm?

    At Counter-Insurgency School back in 1969, our instructors taught us the official COIN doctrine: “Win their hearts and minds.”

    Then they taught us the practical interpretation: “Grab ’em by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow.”

    Anyone who accepts at face value the mellifluously modulated mush that passes for official management-speak requires a crash course in Primitive Word Magic, preferably taught by the master of Lizard Language himself, Dr. Frank Luntz. His credo: “It’s not what you say, it’s what other people hear.”

    No American government “endorses” the torture, dissappearances, or assassinations it practices. Pseudo-conservative judicial activists on the Supreme Court do not “endorse” judicial activism, either. They just practice on others what they don’t want others to practice on them. Their crony-corporate, crypto-fascist credo: “Do unto others before they can even think about doing unto you.”

    Always remember, fellow Crimestoppers: Our officials lie just to keep in practice; just so they won’t forget how. By their deeds we shall know them and not by whatever word-like noises emerge from between their moving lips.

  9. Unacceptable use of force, in my opinion based on the issues presented in the forum. In my view the officer should be charged with assault and would not have qualified immunity.

    First, no crime was alleged against the students. In fact, the only transgression alleged was that they were not walking fast enough to class. Where was there any threat to the officer or others? Nothing that I could see.

    Second, spraying in the front of the students is not standard use of a spray device. I have not personally every heard of someone using spray as a warning. Perhaps showing the container to disuade the threat, but once it is deployed it is ALWAYS used against the face or upper body. Furthermore lets look at practicality. If anyone has experience with this device they will know it is reluctantly used. The spray is difficult to wipe off, the irritant lingers and gets everywhere, plus, the mist almost always gets on your hands or in your eyes, even as the using officer. I tried everything before one of my co-workers used it. I didn’t carry it later in my career for the same reasons.

    Third. Qualified Immunity. I believe this, simply put, would only apply if the officer involved was in an incident where a reasonable officer would have done the same thing. No reasonable officer would have done this. Plus, there is no evidence to suggest that perhaps this officer was told by his dispatch the students were fighting and a weapon was seen and he came around the corner, saw them wrestling around and got the wrong crowd of students. The latter might be cause for a defense of qualified immunity but not in this case.

    Fourth. There is the notion of Force Continuum. What that means is that the level of force used was necessary to overcome the resistance or threat and was proportional to that presented. Levels vary but generally they are Presence , verbal commands, light holds / pain compliance, strikes-punches-kicks, taser – spray, impact weapon, firearm-deadly-force. Threat? There was NONE, stated, implied, or real. Verbal Commands was all that could be lafully used. Plus these are children folks!

    Another embarassment to the profession. And, a good case of Do not let your ego get the upper hand.

    Darren Smith

  10. The cop should be fired, as should his superiors who authorized (or failed to recognize) the use of pepper spray. The school administrators should also be fired. The school board, if they knew about the possibility of pepper spray being used, should be replaced. I know some schools are pretty rough but junior high kids can’t be handled any other way?

  11. QUOTE No police department endorses the use of pepper spray as a crowd motivator.

    Apparently you haven’t been following the Wall St demonstrators abuse by police.

    And now Obama has pushed the Supreme Court to let them strip search ANYONE arrested for ANYTHING…apparenlty to use against the protesters.

    Obama should be impeached immediatly….

  12. pete:

    LOL. I always enjoy your ability to carry a bad idea on through to its logical, and even worse, conclusion.

  13. mespo, since Petrino was canned for cause, he will not get the $18 million buyout from the Razorbacks. As a late friend of mine like to say, “The worst I ever had was great;” however, I don’t think he ever found any worth eighteen million. Hope she had 18 million talents and it was worth it.

  14. It’s Arkansas! Put any one of those kids on the back of former Univ. of Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino’s motorcycle and they’ll move fast enough.

    Petrino was fired yesterday, despite an accomplished record, for lying about having his mistress on the back of his motorcycle when it crashed and for hiring her last week for a job where she reports directly to him. The married father of four also gave the engaged 25-year-old $20,000 for unspecified reasons and lied about that too to his employers. Allegedly, of course.

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