Police officer on leave after video shows him choking Black student

A police officer in Camden, Arkansas, has been “relieved of duty” after video emerged showing him choking a Black student for at least 24 seconds. 

A video posted by the Root reporter Michael Harriot on YouTube shows a white police officer holding a Black student in a chokehold at Camden Fairview High School.

According to the Root, the video was initially posted on Facebook by Auriana Mitchell. It was not accessible when the Daily Dot ran a search for it on Tuesday. 

The incident reportedly took place on Monday.

At the beginning of the video, the student is already in a chokehold against a wall in what appears to be the cafeteria. The officer, since identified as Jake Perry, is seen choking the student, lifting him up, and then turning around to face the cafeteria. He holds the student in a chokehold while other students stare. 

Perry is seen speaking into the student’s ear throughout, but his words are inaudible. The student clutches the officer’s hands that are tightened around his neck.

In the background, some students can be heard screaming “leave,” and there are some who are heard laughing, though it’s not clear from the video if they were reacting to the officer’s actions.

According to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Perry had been with the Camden Police Department for two to three years. Camden Police Chief Bo Woody told reporters that he watched the video on Facebook and spoke with Perry, who gave his statement to investigators. 

Perry was reportedly responding to a fight between students when he put the student on a chokehold. Woody also said Perry was wearing a bodycam, but he hasn’t reviewed it. 

“I just wanted everybody to know, including the mayor that as the police chief, I’m not going to tolerate misconduct from officers from this department,” Wood told reporters, according to the Gazette

On Monday, Camden Police Department said in a statement that Perry had been “relieved of duty,” and an investigation is ongoing. 

***Press Release***

Posted by Camden Police Department on Monday, February 10, 2020

Camden Fairview School District did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comments. According to the Root, Superintendent Fred Lily has said the school district will “fully cooperate” with the investigation.

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Samira Sadeque

Samira Sadeque

Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque