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"They can't do that!"
As a video makes the rounds showing a Boynton Beach, Florida cop apparently kicking the back of a middle schooler's legs and sending the handcuffed 13-year-old to the ground, the department has placed an unnamed officer on administrative duty and launched an internal affairs review.
“They said don’t speak when I was spoken to and the man spoke to me and said 'be quiet I was talking' and he slammed me, as simple as that,” Kevens Jeanbaptist, a student at Congress Middle School, told WPTV-TV in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Jeanbaptist said last week's incident started after his school bus driver told him not to open the window, according to WPLG-TV in Miami.
"The girl sprayed perfume and I got asthma," he told WPLG. "I was coughing and I tried to turn on the AC. He said no, so I rolled down my window."
That's when the driver reportedly pulled over — and soon police arrived.
Here's one part of the cell phone video, presumably shot from inside the school bus, allegedly showing Jeanbaptist standing toe-to-toe with an officer and seemingly bumping his chest into the officer. (Content warning: strong language):
One voice of an observer seems to say "Kevens said 'f*** you'...I heard it," just before another officer walks up to the student and kicks the back of his legs from underneath him, sending him to the ground.
At that point observers on the bus erupt. "Boom!" one voice is hear exclaiming. "They can't do that!" another yelled.
“He didn’t say nothing," Jeanbaptist told WPTV. "He just kicked me and put me in the back of the car. He just took me to school, got my information and left."
Owen Torres, communications manger for the Palm Beach school district, told TheBlaze that an investigation found the driver was in full compliance with district protocol.
Specifically Torres said that when any school bus disruption compromises safety, the driver is supposed to pull over to a safe location, contact dispatch, which then calls 911 — and depending on the location of bus, either local law enforcement or school police answer the call.
Here's additional video. (Content warning: strong language):
The additional footage appears to show an officer restraining the student alleged to be Jeanbaptist, placing a forearm around his neck and forcing him to the ground.
The day before the incident, WPLG reported that students threw eggs from the bus, but Jeanbaptist said he wasn't being disruptive.
Torres told TheBlaze that the driver is not under any type of investigation but the reasons why the bus was stopped is a confidential matter. That's what Boynton Police told TheBlaze on Thursday as well, noting the police report is part of an internal affairs investigation and isn't available to the public.
Jeanbaptist's family wants action. “So to hit him like that, that’s not nice,” Renette Jeanbaptist told WPTV.
“You can’t treat the kid like that," the boy's stepfather Rene Laguerre added to the station. "He needs to be fired. Police have to serve and protect."
While it's been reported that the family said it plans to file a complaint, police told TheBlaze on Thursday that no complaint has been filed. But the department did issue a statement:
We are aware of a video that is circulating the Internet involving several of our officers. We are investigating the circumstances surrounding this situation and have placed one of the officers on administrative duty. We are concerned as to the initial appearance of the video, and despite the fact that we have received no formal complaints at this time, we are committed to reviewing the situation in its entirety and taking whatever action is deemed most appropriate at the conclusion of our investigation. We ask that anyone with firsthand knowledge of this case contact Det. Dennis Galindez at 561-742-6142.
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Sr. Editor, News
Dave Urbanski is a senior editor for Blaze News.