Necessary or excessive force? Video shows student taken down by campus police at Clovis East

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- UPDATE: New footage obtained by Action News gives some new insight into what happened between a campus police officer at Clovis East High School and a freshman student during the lunch hour.

That footage is only about a minute long and we still do not know what caused the reaction from the officer.

The video shows the beginning of the altercation. You can see the student being approached by an officer who grabs the student's sweatshirt while he is near the golf cart.

Seconds later, the ninth grader begins to back up.

That officer then follows the student and somehow gets him to walk back with what appears to be a staff member.

But it is this moment, when a second officer shows up and tries to put the student's arms behind his back that this officer takedown unfolded.

Legal analyst Tony Capozzi said he believes the officer overacted in this case.

"To me, that officer overreacted in pulling that student to the ground."

Capozzi said it could have made the situation a lot worse if other students seen in the video got involved.

He said it looks like excessive force and he does not think what happened here warranted that approach.

"There is no question about it now the student may have been mouthing off saying some things but I don't think that is enough to react with physical force like that."

Capozzi said he does not believe this is a case where there could be a major lawsuit.


The video is only 10 seconds. It shows a student at Clovis East High School taken down by a campus officer Wednesday afternoon.

The student is a freshman, and in the video, you can see his hands in a fist and even struggling with the officers after being taken down.

It happened during the lunch hour, and we spoke with the student who witnessed it unfold.
He did not want to show his face on camera but says it started when two other students were getting ready to fight.

"Campus police showed up, and then they separated the two," he said.

Meantime, that unidentified student says the student in the video was leaning on the campus police cart.

And that is when he says campus officers showed up, asking the student to step away.

The video that Action News obtained shows a portion of that exchange.

"A cop grabbed him and tried to cuff him, and he is resisting pulling his arms away, and it just escalated from there and then another cop came grabbed him by his neck and slammed him," the student witness said.
A parent we spoke who also did not want to show her face was clearly upset by what took place at her child's school.

"When I seen this video I was so upset I was like this poor kid you know it breaks my heart because what if he would have hit his head and something it terrifies me to send my son to school," she said.

In a statement, Clovis Unified School District said in part:

"Campus officers on duty at the school responded to a report of escalating tension between two student groups. The officers were able to proactively address the issue without further escalation. However, in the course of peacefully resolving the incident, an observing student became very agitated and aggressive toward the officers and their vehicle.

Officers' attempts to calm the student and de-escalate the situation failed. It was only at that time that, and out of concern for the student's own safety and the safety of the other students present, one of the two responding officers took the student to the ground."

While this mom questions if additional footage can explain the incident, she says she doubts it will change the fact that she believes excessive force was used on a teenager.

The student involved was not able to speak on camera but he did message Action News saying he is upset about what happened and feels it could have been handled a lot better.

For now, Clovis Unified is conducting a thorough investigation into the incident before the officer returns to duty on the campus.
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