Local: Education

School district releases 2nd video of attack

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Education,California

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco Bay Area school district that fired a high school security officer last month after surveillance video showed him attacking a handcuffed student in a wheelchair has released a second video showing more details of the May 19 incident.

The two-minute video released Tuesday by Oakland Unified School District spokesman Troy Flint appears to show two guards pushing 17-year-old Francisco Martinez out of his wheelchair before one guard kicks Martinez in the head and drags him into an elevator.

Martinez has cerebral palsy.

The district identified the guard who kicked Martinez as Marchell Mitchell, who in a previous video could be seen repeatedly slapping Martinez and knocking his chair over.

Flint says Mitchell was fired immediately.

Mitchell pleaded not guilty on May 22 to a felony charge of corporal injury to a child, said Stephanie Chan, a spokeswoman for the Alameda County District Attorney's Office. Chan said she did not know whether he had an attorney.

Mitchell had been encouraging students lingering in a hallway to go to class that morning and began wheeling the victim when Martinez either refused or was slow to move on, school Principal Matin Abdel-Qawi said in a letter to parents.

The student attempted to slap away Mitchell's hands, prompting Mitchell to handcuff him, Abdel-Qawi said. Mitchell was continuing to wheel the student to class when the student spit on him and Mitchell attacked, the principal said.

"I'm shocked and deeply hurt by this behavior and apologize on behalf of the staff at Oakland High," Abdel-Qawi said in the May 20 letter.

Mitchell has posted $10,000 bail, according to county records online. A working telephone number for Mitchell couldn't be found.

The second guard was identified as Shalandra Cotton, and according to Flint, the district has put her on paid administrative leave as of Wednesday while the incident is investigated.

Attempts to reach Cotton for comment were not immediately successful.

Martinez told KTVU-TV he suffered a scar under his chin. He said he had been going to therapy to strengthen his legs so he could try to walk.

Martinez acknowledged spitting at the security officer, but he said he was handcuffed and had no other way to defend himself.

"He slapped me. He hit me so hard, it threw me out of my chair," he told the station.

Mitchell was a not a sworn peace officer and did not carry a weapon, Flint said. He was hired in November and had passed a background check that showed he had no prior convictions or arrests.

The district is reviewing its policies about how security officers interact with students and plans to include a discussion about de-escalating conflict at an upcoming training session, Abdel-Qawi said.

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