MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — City of Mobile Chief of Staff James Barber believes that one of the city’s officers used “excessive force” in a viral video that shows an officer throwing a 16-year-old girl to the ground outside a school.
A video of an off-duty Mobile police officer has made its way around social media showing the officer throwing a 16-year-old girl to the ground outside of Accel Academy on Airport Boulevard.
“I saw what appears to be excessive force used by the officer in this case against a fairly small female,” Barber said. “Given the size of the officer, the size of the female are all determining factors of how much force should be used.”
The girl’s mother, Brittney Pettaway, explained the incident was started by an argument between a school administrator and the girl.
Pettaway explained she was on the phone with her daughter as she was crying before the line disconnected, saying she received the news from another parent who witnessed the entire incident.
“The parent that was there at school called me from her phone telling me what was going on, and that the police officer slammed her on the ground,” Pettaway explained.
We reached out to Accel Academy for a response to the video, and they sent us the following statement:
Late yesterday afternoon, a student disciplinary incident took place on our campus that ultimately involved an officer. Unfortunately, due to federal laws, such as FERPA, we are unable to elaborate about the incident as one of our scholars was involved. The security, safety and well-being of our scholars, teachers, parents and all stakeholders is of the utmost importance and always our primary concern. At this time the incident is under investigation.Victoria Lambert – Accel Academy
The officer involved in that video has been placed on administrative duty meaning that the officer will not be patrolling the streets of Mobile. However, Barber said this is only the beginning stages of the investigation.
“We engaged the criminal investigators from Mobile Police Department to run their investigation as well as the Department of Justice through the FBI, which is pretty normal for what we do whenever there’s a civil rights allegation,” Barber explained.
Pettaway said her daughter suffered a broken toe, sore legs, scraped knees, and a knot on her head. While her daughter continues to recover from her injuries, Pettaway is hoping for the officer to lose his job.
“Because there’s no reason you should ever use that kind of force with a child,” Pettaway said.
When asked if the officer’s actions were believed to be justified, Chief of Staff James Barber said that he couldn’t on that just yet as the investigation is still in its early stages.