A disturbing video of a San Antonio police officer seen suddenly lunging and savagely punching at a 14-year old Black female is the talk of the community. The girl on the video was arrested and charged with assault on a public servant and appeared in juvenile court on May 22, 2017.
When police responded to a fight that erupted at a northeast side quinceañera, April Johnson says she saw a San Antonio Police Department officer punch her 14-year-old daughter so hard that when a doctor examined her two days later she was diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury and trauma to her face and neck muscles.
Artessa House, one of the girl’s lawyers, said her client, an honor-roll student with no history of violence, did not assault the officer. House said one officer can be seen in the video “clear as day” striking the girl.
Executive director of the Claude & ZerNona Black Development Leadership Foundation, Taj Matthews helped to release the child and went to court. “The issue is that I have never seen anything like this. San Antonio should really be outraged. One particular officer punched her in the face. The whole situation does not make any sense to me.”
The girl, an eighth-grader who the San Antonio Observer is not identifying because she’s a minor, was arrested on a criminal charge of assaulting a public servant, according to one of her lawyers.
Taj Matthews commented on release of the student, “I believe the majority of our police officer get up every morning and put on their uniform with pride. They want to serve and protect their community. But there are bad officers that need to be removed and to be held accountable as they not serving and protecting with honor.”
Civil Rights Attorney House further indicated in an interview on TAAN TV (The African American Network), that the local NAACP branch had not contacted her or the family to see how they could help. She was very concerned and questioned the nature of the organization when clearly this may be a major civil rights case.
Matthews continues, “I don’t expect a damn thing to happen to those officers that beat and punched that young lady. All they have to do is show their police union membership card and it’s a done deal.” Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood can ultimately determine whether to proceed with the case or drop it. His office did not immediately respond.
Matthews continues, “When I went to President Obama’s White House Task Force on Community Policing I saw police officers, police chiefs, Black Lives Matter, community activists and city leaders all working together on a plan to develop working relationships that enable trust and teamwork in the community. Unfortunately that has not happened here locally. If they could come together to make a plan that works, why can’t we? We need a working plan in San Antonio.” Matthews adds, “I would like to see City Council recall the collective bargaining agreement. There is nothing beneficial to the citizens. I agree with the [police] pay raise 100 percent but I do not agree with the fact there are no disciplinary or performance measures. I resent those who asked for accountability and were demonized.”
The SA police department’s policy states that an officer can use physical force or an intermediate weapon if a suspect is actively being resistant. It goes on: “If circumstances allow, officers should attempt to de-escalate tense situations through ‘advisements, warnings, verbal persuasion, and other tactics’ to reduce the need for force.”
Artessia House, an attorney representing the Johnson family who says she plans to file a federal civil rights lawsuit against the department and the officer involved.
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**Viewer Caution, Video Is Disturbing**