A North Carolina sheriff has reportedly been fired after video emerged showing him slamming a child to the ground in the halls of a middle school.
The incident took place on Thursday at Vance County Middle School in Henderson, North Carolina.
The sheriff, who has not been named, was seen in a surveillance camera footage walking in an empty hallway with the child, who is under 12-years-old. At one point, the sheriff, in a seemingly unprompted move, violently hits the child’s stomach, lifts him, and slams him on the floor. He then picks up the child and slams him on the floor again. He then picks up the child again and drags him across the floor. The video has no audio.
The sheriff was initially placed on paid leave, ABC News reported. Activist Shaun King shared the video on Monday morning and called for him to be fired.
LET BE CLEAR.— Shaun King (@shaunking) December 16, 2019
This officer MUST be fired by the end of the day TODAY.
He should then be ARRESTED immediately for felony assault of a child.
This not only violates policy, it violates the law.
Vance County Sheriff's Office
Call: (252) 738-2200 pic.twitter.com/wDqLPVkOka
The term “paid leave” trended on Twitter in the wake of this announcement, with many saying the brutality of the crime did not match with the consequences the sheriff faced.
“This is terrible policing— especially for a school! For this, paid leave is unacceptable! This is criminal!” one user wrote.
"paid leave," they said. There are some details to be looked into for sure, but what is already settled by this video is the fact that a grown man initiated a violent physical assault against a child. Fire & arrest him, THEN investigate.pic.twitter.com/SmiB8ml6F3— Omar Baddar (@OmarBaddar) December 16, 2019
After being the police for 15 years & a School Resource Officer for almost 10, I know it’s a million ways to be positively impactful as a SRO.— Monica S. Blake (@TheRealMSBlake) December 16, 2019
Not one is present here!
This is terrible policing— especially for a school! For this, paid leave is unacceptable! This is criminal! https://t.co/8S2aaWUUUq
Another user said that when they called the sheriff’s department, they were hung up on.
I just called.— Koleton Christ (@NatKingKoleton) December 16, 2019
“I’m calling to see how your department justifies putting an officer on paid leave after body slamming a child not once but twice?”
They hung up on me. https://t.co/KsFGSysrJN
This cop got put on paid leave. Paid leave for assaulting an unarmed child walking in the hallway. Paid leave for body slamming a child TWICE in an unprovoked and entirely one-sided altercation. He shouldn’t be on paid leave, he should be in jail for assaulting a minor. https://t.co/slGd4tzx5R— davey (@jerseyh0mo) December 16, 2019
Within hours of King’s tweet, the sheriff was fired. King announced the update and said there should be a criminal investigation into the incident.
UPDATE: The Officer was just fired.— Shaun King (@shaunking) December 16, 2019
Thank each of you helping make that happen.
Of course, that’s not enough.
He committed criminal assault against this child and should be arrested immediately. pic.twitter.com/FJ6clPrNtf
The family of the boy is also calling for a criminal investigation into the incident, WRAL.com reported.
“It just made me mad,” John Miles, a pastor and the boy’s grandfather, reportedly said on Monday. “Look at the video. He could have been killed.”
Brame told WRAL.com that the sheriff doesn’t have any prior records and has been with the department for two years. When reached by the Daily Dot on Monday afternoon, the sheriff’s office did not say if criminal charges are being pursued against the sheriff and said North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, invited by Brame, is handling the investigation.
A spokesperson for the bureau told the Daily Dot that the district attorney will determine what charges, if any, will be pursued after the investigation.