A Pennsylvania school district is considering putting body cameras on its school resource officers after an officer was caught on camera tasing a student while the principal of the school held his head down.
Surveillance video released Tuesday showed Ahmad Williams sitting in the office at Woodland Hills High School when Churchill Police Officer Steve Shaulis puts his finger in the 15-year-old boy’s face and then follows him out into the hall, where Williams’ attorney said that he “taunted” the teen.
When the boy responded to the taunts, the office grabbed him by the collar and put him into a chokehold, dragging him down the hall away from the camera before slamming him to the ground. That’s when Woodland Hills High School Principal Kevin Murray stepped in to help hold Williams’ head down while Shaulis tasered the boy.
“Shaulis tased him a number of times and handcuffed him,” attorney Todd Hollis said in a statement. “After handcuffing the child, Shaulis lifted the child up off the ground by his handcuffs and took him back into his office, where he continued to assault the child. The child was later charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. After presenting the attached video in court, the student’s charge for resisting arrest was dismissed.”
Hollis said that this is not the only incident that the school has seen, citing an incident when one student was called a vulgar slur by an administrator and another when a teen was “interrogated” about a cell phone that had gone missing and was dragged into a camera-less room, slammed into a wall, and had his front tooth knocked out.
Now, the Woodland Hills School District is considering having its school resource officers wear body cameras.
“The idea of course is that a body camera will create greater accountability for everyone involved with a school resource officer,” Superintendent Alan Johnson told the Tribune-Review in an email. “It of course provides accountability for the officer but it also helps provide a clearer picture of the circumstances that surround a confrontation between a student resource officer and a student or staff member and we believe that can only help in understanding the contexts of these often difficult situations.”