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. 

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

UPS Delivery Man Is Fired After Video Surfaces of His Anti-Latino Racist Rant

Things That Matter

UPS Delivery Man Is Fired After Video Surfaces of His Anti-Latino Racist Rant

Photo courtesy Forward Latino

An unnamed UPS delivery driver has been fired after being caught using racist language when delivering a package to a Latino household. The incident occurred on December 17th.

The video, which was caught on a doorbell camera’s security footage, shows a white UPS driver appearing to be angry when delivering a package.

“Now you don’t get f—–g nothing…You can’t read and write and speak the f—–g English language,” he says while writing a “failed to deliver” notice and pasting it on the house’s front door.

The Aviles family says that the footage shows that the UPS worker never even attempted to deliver the package in the first place. He never rang the doorbell or knocked on the door. Based on that, the family has come to the conclusion that the driver intentionally withheld the package from the family out of prejudice and spite

They believe that the only way the driver could’ve known that the family was Latino was by making assumptions based off the name on the package.

“The only information this driver had that could serve as a trigger for this deep-seated hate was the name on the package,” said Forward Latino President Darryl Morin at a press conference addressing the incident.

“So what we have here is a very intentional act to ruin Christmas for somebody, for someone to spew this hateful rhetoric, and quite honestly to deceive their employer,” Morin continued.

Per UPS, the employee has now been fired. “There is no place in any community for racism, bigotry or hate. This is very serious and we promptly took action, terminating the driver’s employment. UPS is wholeheartedly committed to diversity, equity and inclusion,” UPS said in a statement. They also said they contacted the family to apologize.

But the Aviles family is still rattled that such bigoted people are out and about, letting their petty prejudices effect other people’s lives.

“The package was a Christmas gift that we eventually received after Christmas Day, but what if it happened to have time-sensitive content like an epipen or a book I needed to take a final,” said Shirley Aviles, the mother of the man who lives at the address, told NBC News. “I don’t get it. It’s just sad.”

Aviles seemed disturbed about what this incident says about human nature. “This is about the things people do when they think no one is watching them. That’s important because that’s when you see people’s true colors and that’s what’s scary,”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

A Native American Veteran Shared a Video of Himself Being Tased By a Park Ranger on Sacred Grounds in New Mexico

Things That Matter

A Native American Veteran Shared a Video of Himself Being Tased By a Park Ranger on Sacred Grounds in New Mexico

Screenshot via hou5edm/Instagram

Recently, a video went viral of a New Mexico park ranger tasing a Native American man that sparked a conversation about the right non-Indigenous government authorities have to exert over Indigenous Americans.

Last Sunday, a Native American man named Darrell House shared a video of himself screaming in agony and calling for help as a park ranger tased him.

In the four-minute long clip posted to Instagram, House screams for help and writhes in agony on the ground as the unnamed park ranger continuously uses his taser on him. The woman recording the altercation repeatedly yells “What are you doing?” at the ranger while the ranger continues to demand that House show him his ID.

House, who grew up on a reservation and is of Navajo and Oneida descent, wrote a lengthy caption describing in detail what had transpired.

House wrote: “Today 12/27/2020, I was tased for being off trail at the Petroglyphs. I come here to pray and speak to my Pueblo Ancestor relatives. Even though I’m Navajo and Oneida, I honor this land.”

“Here, you will see a white man abuse his power. Both men pulled tasers on me after the first 1 couldn’t keep me down. This could have been a civil interaction. The law doesn’t work for the Indigenous. The government doesn’t give a shit about us. This was uncalled for. You see I’m clearly on the trail. I explained my reason for being off trail (which I shouldn’t have to. If anyone has the right to be off trail and wander this land, it’s the NATIVE INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY!”

“I didn’t feel I needed to identify myself for doing absolutely nothing wrong.
I’m traumatized. My left leg is numb and still bleeding. [My dog] Geronimo is shaking and hasn’t stopped. I’m shaking.”

Darrell House, who is also a military veteran, added: “I’m good people, the Marines I served with would agree. The many people I’ve crossed paths with–you know me.”

In response to the public outcry, the National Park Service said they were “investigating” the incident.

The National Park Service says that House was cited for walking off-trail at Petroglyph National Monument. House does not deny the claim, but says that walking where he wants to on sacred indigenous grounds is an ancestral right.

“Nature is what we’ve been worshipping … and protecting it has always been our job,” he told NBC News. “I am Native, you know. I have rights to this land. I have rights off the trail.”

House also doesn’t deny refusing to identify himself to the park ranger. “I didn’t see a reason to give my identification,” he said. “I don’t need to tell people why I’m coming there to pray and give things in honor to the land. I don’t need permission or consent.”

The local Albuquerque government has since become involved, releasing a statement that said the incident had been “elevated to the Federal investigation level”.

City Councilor Cynthia Borrego wrote that the incident was “troubling” and “uncomfortable” to watch and that her officer “recognizes and supports the investigation into any indigenous rights that may have been violated as a result of the actions taken in this unfortunate incident.”

The statement concluded by reiterating that Native Americans have the right “to practice their cultural beliefs as protected by the American Indian Religious Freedom Act and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com