A high school student from Rockford, Illinois suffered a skull fracture after being body slammed on the floor by a police officer, per the Rockford Register Star. Though the incident happened last year, his injuries resulted in a traumatic brain injury. Now both the school and the officer are facing a lawsuit.
In fall of 2021, Parris Moore was wandering the hallways when he was supposed to be in class, the report says. Per the video footage, it seemed he had walked off after getting in disagreement with a teacher. The report stated he had been sent home the previous day for refusing to lower his hoodie. The assistant principal tried to stop Moore from walking but he resisted their attempts to reel him back.
Rockford officer Bradley Lauer, who was working as a school resource officer, got involved, resulting in Moore being dragged out of a room and slammed on to the ground head-first. Al Hofeld, Moore’s attorney, called the incident an evident abuse of force.
Read more about the situation from Rockford Register Star:
Hofeld said the family has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Rockford Public Schools, the city of Rockford, Lauer and school administrators. He argues the officer used excessive force and that he tried to play down the incident, telling family members that Moore had slipped and fell.
“Police treated a minor, non-violent discipline issue as a violent crime and used deadly force against a short, thin 14-year Parris Moore,” Hofeld said, describing Moore as a bright teen who has never been in trouble before at school.
The student was “knocked out cold, physically limp and motionless on the floor for several minutes,” Hofeld said. “The complaint alleges that Lauer’s use of excessive force gave (Moore) a traumatic brain injury that has resulted in what is now permanent, brain damage, including a changed personality and permanent deficits in memory, language, and fine motor control.”
Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara sided with Officer Lauer, claiming Hofeld’s law firm only released part of the story in an effort to work up the public. Though, any other details about the incident doesn’t change the fact that Moore sustained long-term injuries as a direct result of Lauer’s force. The footage says it all.
As if Black kids aren’t being criminalized in everyday life, they also face it at school. The US Department of Education reported Black students without disabilities made up 30 percent of school-related arrests between 2017 and 2018. The current interest in increasing police presences in schools for the sake of preventing a mass shooting ignores the racial profiling Black students face as a result. Leon Smith, executive director of Citizens for Juvenile Justice, told CNN that school resource officers just make the situation worse.
“Having the police officer there, they feel constantly watched and surveilled. They see what they perceive to be unfair searches and seizures and (police) encourage students to inform on each other. It ends up creating an environment of fear and distrust,” he said.
For any other students who look like Moore, this incident has certainly incited the emotions Smith described.