A Northeast Baltimore school is investigating a fight involving a female school police officer and three middle school girls that ended with the students being rushed to the hospital.
According to security video footage obtained and released by WBAL-TV, the incident, which happened in October, began inside Vanguard Middle School between the school officer and Starr, a teen who was in the hallway during a class change.
"Starr said they was changing classes," Vanessa Ward, Starr's grandmother, told the news station, which didn't release the child's last name. "The officer was hollering at her and said, 'Little girl, get down here.' And so Starr said, 'My name is not little girl, it's Starr.' Starr came on down the steps, and Starr said that's when the officer grabbed her."
The news station notes that the officer claims that the child pushed her when she walked past, which is why she grabbed the child. The push cannot be seen clearly on the video. The video does show the officer pushing the teen against a wall.
Starr's sister, who was not named and also attends the school, was told that Starr was in a fight.
"So she goes over there thinking it's another child, and she gets over there, and it's an officer. She went over there to try to stop her," Ward told WBAL-TV.
The girls' cousin, Diamond Neals, 13, who also attends the school, ran to see what was going on. In the video it appears that Diamond shoves the officer shortly after she arrives in the frame. The officer appears to let go of Starr and chases Diamond. It looks as if the officer pulls her baton and swings more than a few times. According to the news station, "Diamond was hit at least twice, it appeared, including the blow from the baton that put the gash in her head."
"I knew something had happened because I received a call from the paramedics," Diamond's mother, Tashona Neals, told the news station. She said that she never received word of the incident from the school.
"She had six stitches. No, I'm sorry—10," Tashona Neals said. "Four on the inside and six on the outside."
According to WBAL, "All three girls were taken to the hospital: Diamond because of the head injury and her cousins because they were each sprayed with pepper spray."
Shortly after the teens' hospital stay, they were all taken to juvenile booking, where they were charged with assaulting the officer. The school system told the news station that the officer suffered several wounds, including being punched in the chest and face, kicked and scratched on her face.
"I didn't see any of that on the video," Tashona Neals told the news station.
The case was reportedly thrown out once the state's attorney viewed the tape, but the girls were still taken out of the school and placed in an alternative school for troubled kids. The parents of the teens are fighting this decision with the help of an attorney.
The officer involved in the case has since been assigned to administrative duty while an internal investigation is conducted, according to a police union representative who spoke with the news station.
Read more at WBAL-TV.