April 28, 2011
Derby police are investigating whether a school resource officer used excessive force in breaking a student's arm and giving him a black eye.
The department says it investigates any time an officer uses force during an arrest. In this particular case, a student was injured and the officer was unharmed. While some claim the officer went too far, the department says it's still too early to tell.
"He just grabbed me and tried to throw me on the ground," said Jonathan Villarreao.
17-year-old Villarreao claims he was thrown to the ground Wednesday. This, after his SRO at Derby High School asked him to pull up his pants because they were sagging, and he said 'no.'
"I told them no because I already had gotten out of school and I was leaving to go to home and catch my bus," said Villarreao.
Then what began as a verbal dispute turned physical, when police say Villarreao refused to comply.
"[He] used a number of different profanities towards the officers. The SRO was was attempting to escort him back to the office of the school when he refused to go," said Derby Police Chief Robert Lee.
But police are still investigating exactly what happened to spur the officer to shoot his taser, then use enough force to break Villarreao's arm and give him a black eye.
"This is just not right. He shouldn't have made me get a broken bone just for [refusing] to pull up my pants," said Villarreao.
"Physical altercation certainly isn't the most desirable, but there are times when that's what is the next step," said Lee.
Whether it was the appropriate step in this case, the department hasn't yet determined.
"What I would tell people is, don't be driven by emotion. Let the facts tell you what they are, and that's what we're going to do, is gather the facts in this case," said Lee.
But Villarreao and some of his fellow students claim they know the facts, and they say what happened wasn't right.
"I'm pretty scared of them now, for what they did to Jonathan. If they're here to help they shouldn't have done what they did," said Derby High School student Natalie Quintanilla, who says she witnessed the altercation.
"These people, they don't really care about you. They say they're here to protect you but they didn't protect me," said Villarreao.
The police department says charges haven't been filed against Villarreao. It will be up to the District Attorney's office whether to pursue the case.
The officer will continue working as the SRO at Derby High School as the investigation continues.