Things That Matter

This Officer Attacked A Student For Taking Too Many Milks And Now He’s Been Forced To Resign

Following the release of footage showing a school resource officer wrestling and restraining an 11-year-old girl in tears, the officer has resigned. The video sparked national outrage about the use of excessive force on a child. 

According to Vox, on August 27 at Messa View Middle School in New Mexico, Zachary Christensen of the Farmington Police Department pushed the 11-year-old girl into the side of the school building causing her to slam to the ground in an attempt to force the girl’s arm’s behind her. 

Footage shows what many believe to be the use of excessive force.

A recording of the officer’s conduct was captured through his bodycam after it fell on the ground. In the video, the girl can be heard crying and begging the officer to let her go. Christensen screams at her, “stop resisting.” 

“I’m not resisting,” the sixth-grader says. “Get off of me — you’re hurting me.”

Christensen alleges that the girl violated the rules after she stood on a school bus, took “too many” milk cartons at the school cafeteria, and picked at a sign that was taped to a door. The former resource officer also falsely claimed that she assaulted the school principal. 

The video shows school officials intervene to try to stop the officer. He refuses.

In the video, the officer continues to wrestle with the girl despite warnings from school officials who say it is unnecessary. 

“She is not a threat to yourself or others at this moment,” a school official says in the video. “You are not going to use excessive force to get this done.” 

Christensen responds by saying, “we’re not excessive,” as he holds the girl down to the ground. 

A longer video shows the officer falsely accusing the 11-year-old girl of assault. 

The police department released a longer, 77-minute, video of the body camera footage. In the video, Christensen is heard recalling the 11-year-old girl’s recent antics like disrupting class and standing on the bus. It also shows the officer accusing the student of assaulting him and other school staff. The Washington Post says an internal investigation found his claims to be false.  

In another moment, Christensen is seen following the student who he says is, “refusing to do anything that anyone says” and that “this has been an ongoing issue.” He is heard asking for approval to detain the student, saying, “then I can put her in handcuffs.” 

When he and the principal found the 11-year-old picking at a sign on the taped door, he threatened to arrest her.

“If you destroy it, it’s called criminal damage to property,” he said, yelling at her, in the footage. “I’m going to charge you with criminal damage to property. Yeah, you’re going to go to jail for 50 cents. Yeah, plus resisting, plus disrupting the education process.”

Christensen seemingly lost it on the child when she swept away the principal’s hand from a door. 

“You’re not going to assault the principal,” Christensen said as he shoved her against the building. He wrestled with her for almost three minutes before letting her go. 

The police department says they will take disciplinary action against Christensen. 

Farmington Police Chief Steven Hebbe says the girl suffered a mild concussion as well as scrapes and bruises. 

“Like many of you, I was shocked and angry when I watched this video,” Hebbe said in a statement. “We value our relationship with our community and will continue to work hard to maintain the public’s confidence in our department.”

Christensen resigned after an internal investigation determined he did not comply with standard policies. He was slapped with two violations including “unsatisfactory performance” and “violating use of force policy.” The department also reassigned and demoted Christensen’s supervisor. 

The girl’s family takes legal action.

The girl’s family has hired attorney Mark Curnutt to initiate legal action against the school and the City of Farmington. They believe the video footage disproves the officer’s accusations that the 11-year-old committed any crimes. 

“She’s an 11-year-old girl and it’s a shock to the system to see that this is a thing that can occur at a school by a certified peace officer,” Curnutt said. “When you have a situation where there’s a report that says a felony is committed, another felony is committed, another felony is committed — and then you review the factual documentation you have of that through the video and it doesn’t add up, there must be a level of accountability.”

While the officer has not been criminally charged, his case has been referred to the San Juan County District Attorney’s Office where he could face potential charges. 

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People Have Taken To The Streets Across The Country In Breonna Taylor Protests

Things That Matter

People Have Taken To The Streets Across The Country In Breonna Taylor Protests

@KRISTENCLARKEJD / TWITTER

Cities across the U.S. are seeing a new wave of unrest following the grand jury’s finding on the Breonna Taylor case. Emotions are high as people protest against the lack of charges against the officers who were involved in Taylor’s death.

Protesters are raising their voices after the decision not to charge all of the officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s death.

Breonna Taylor was shot and killed on March 13 when police raided her apartment. The 26-year-old ER technician was sleeping when the police executed a “no-knock” warrant. However, police had the wrong address and Taylor’s boyfriend, believe their lives were in danger, fired at the police. Taylor was shot and killed in her apartment that night.

Major cities across the country saw major demonstrations spurred by the anger against the justice system.

A grand jury found one officer responsible for wanton endangerment after firing his weapon into neighboring apartments. There were no charges tied directly to Taylor’s death. The lack of charges has angered activists and advocates who are seeking significant police reform to prevent tragedies like this from happening again.

People have become hyper-aware of the issue and are paying attention to the outcomes.

Protest signs in different crowds show that the American people are paying attention. The Black Lives Matter movement became the cause at the forefront of American mentality since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. Floyd’s death sparked national outrage and renewed energy into fighting to stop the disproportionate violence Black men, women, and children face at the hands of police.

Some motorists have turned violent against the protesters.

Video captured in both Denver and Los Angeles show vehicles driving through crowds of protesters. In Denver, the driver claims to have acted in self-defense after protesters surrounded his car. The driver claims that he did not intend to hurt anyone but reacted when protesters shattered his windshield.

In Louisville, police arrested the only Black woman in the Kentucky state legislature for protesting.

State Rep. Attica Scott was arrested for first-degree rioting, which is a class-D felony. The Louisville Metropolitan Police Department arrested 24 people Thursday night while protesting the decision not to charge the officers. Rep. Scott was arrested with other and charged with first-degree rioting and two misdemeanors for unlawful assembly and failure to disperse.

“Our call to action is to continue to make sure that the city of Louisville understands that we will not go away, that we will continue to demand the defunding of police and the dismantling of this police department because it’s corrupt from the inside out, from the bottom to the top,” Scott told NPR before the grand jury decision. “And it cannot continue to function in the way that it does.”

Taylor’s death has mobilized the nation with celebrities and politicians calling for justice.

The fight for racial justice and a systemic change to our justice and policing systems is ongoing. The people are tired of being scared and are taking a stand with their protests.

If you are out there protesting, send us your videos and photos so we can see your activism in action!

READ: Oprah Winfrey Honors Breonna Taylor With Historic O Magazine Cover

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An Abuelo Got A Hurtful Note From Bad Neighbors About His Decorations And Latino Twitter Came Into Comfort Him

Things That Matter

An Abuelo Got A Hurtful Note From Bad Neighbors About His Decorations And Latino Twitter Came Into Comfort Him

@goldenstef / Twitter

We are rarely more defensive than we are for our abuelos. The viejitos have always been there for us and seeing them treated unkindly is just heartbreaking. That is what one Twitter user experienced after her abuelo got a wretched note about his decorations outside his home.

This is the horrid letter left for @goldenstef’s abuelo by undesirable neighbors.

The letter, which is filled with misspelled words, calls the abuelo’s house an example of a “low class Mexican family.” The letter was written anonymously by neighbors and delivered to the abuelo in an attempt to shame him into changing his decorations. One of the most bizarre moments in the letter is when the angry author criticized the homeowner for having too many American flags claiming he isn’t patriotic and can’t fool the neighbors. Like, which one is it people?

The Twitter user followed up with photos of the house to show the decorations their abuelo has out front.

People flooded the Twitter post with comments supporting and sending love to the abuelo. Fellow Latinos are ready to stand with the abuelo and some just want the names of the people behind the letter so they can talk to them. Some people are stunned at how far the author was willing to go out of their way to be mean to an old man who just wants to decorate his home and front yard.

Latino Twitter wants to come together to let the abuelo know that his decorations are adorbs.

We need to come together to give her abuelo all of the wonderful decoration we love. Let’s turn his house and front yard into a showcase of all of the greatness that Latin America has to offer.

People are falling in love with this viejitos yard.

Honestly, this is a great yard. Who wouldn’t want a yard like this? This yard is original and adorable and worth all of the praise that we can muster. Thank you to people like this for making their yards something unique and worth seeing.

@goldenstef wants everyone to know just how much they appreciate the sweet messages about their abuelo’s yard.

It costs nothing to be kind. It is even better when you can be kind about something someone clearly cares so much about. Who cares if someone decorates their lawn a little too much. At least they are having fun with their lives and that is something we all need more of right now.

READ: Latinas Are Sharing Their Most Treasured Memories Of Their Abuelos And It’s Exactly What We Needed This Month

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