An incident at Casey County Middle school wherein an African American student was strangulated and assaulted by another student has led to criminal charges being filed. The video of the disturbing incident went viral on social media as it showed a white student putting a Black student in a chokehold until he passed out while three others watched in a school bathroom. Racial slurs can also be heard in the video.
The incident took place on 22nd April in the bathroom of Casey County Middle School, Liberty Police Chief Steven Garrett confirmed Monday that they are looking into the possibilities of more videos recorded as other charges might be filed if that happens, Lexington Herald Leader news reports.
The accused teenager has been charged with fourth-degree assault and felony strangulation. The police officials explained that what happens to the suspect will be under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court system that is not public record. Casey County School resource officer Jordon Buis, said, "I think it was reported by school staff that it was kind of a horseplay incident, and then once the video surfaced later it was discovered it was quite a bit more than that."
He told Fox 56, "stuff like this, personally, I am not going to tolerate it when it is known. I mean, of course, teachers and I can't be everywhere at any given time, and with that being in the bathroom made it extra difficult, too. If anything criminal happens it is going to be dealt with and we have several times in the past and this incident is no different as far as doing criminal charges."
The victim's family when approached for a reaction was shocked at the racial incident occurring in the first place. Dontashia Southerland, the victim's sister expressed her anger and disgust when she heard the news, "I was absolutely disgusted because how are you gonna let something like that go on?" Southerland further revealed her own experiences with racism at Casey County Schools to be quite similar of what her brother went through.
She even attested to the fact that racial slurs were used rather frequently it was not something new. "There's been multiple times where it's been racist and I've been attacked and, I've been told that, 'it's fine just don't do it again, just give them like a pat on the back don't do it again,'" recalls Southerland.
While the student resource officer continues to review the video and receives more statements, in a follow-up with the Liberty Police Department, Chief Steven Garrett shared that no additional charges have been brought forth at this time.
LEX 18 news attempted to contact Casey County Schools in order to determine whether more disciplinary action had been taken or not, to which the superintendent Barry Lee replied, "No further information can be released as all parties involved are juveniles. The behavior that occurred in the video will not be tolerated. The school administrators and the School Resource Officer (SRO) took immediate action but we must continue to be proactive in helping our students to understand that this is not acceptable behavior in our schools or in our communities."
He added further, "the focus now is a unified effort to continue reinforcing the core values and school-wide expectations for students to be respectful, show integrity, have a safe learning environment, and excel in every aspect of being a successful student."
Southerland shared that her mother is taking legal action and they might be changing school districts for her brother's betterment, "we all deserve to be treated the same," she said. "No one should be able to get more than the other person. No one should be able to get treated just because of the skin...colour of their skin, than the other person. And it's just something that shouldn't be done."
Casey County Middle School released a statement on Facebook saying, "CCMS is committed to our core values and school-wide expectations instilling in our students to be respectful, show integrity, have a safe learning environment, and excellence in every aspect of being a successful student in our school."
Superintendent Lee told ABC 36, "Casey County Schools is aware of the video circulating on social media involving an incident at Casey County Middle School. The incident took place this past Friday, and the school administrators took immediate action with the support of a Liberty Police Department deputy who serves as the SRO. The school administrators and the SRO have been in communication with the parents throughout the investigation."