Two former police officers from Louisiana have been charged after a video showed one of them hurling a middle school student to the ground and the other slamming the teen against a table.
A grand jury on Friday indicted Anthony "Kip" Dupre on a charge of malfeasance in office and Daniel Cipriano on a charge of simple battery for their actions while arresting the 14-year-old student. The charges came a month after surveillance footage of the violent encounter was leaked to local media.
The video, published by CBS affiliate WAFB, shows the student talking to staffers inside an office when Dupre walks in. The teenager and Dupre, a police officer, exchange words that were not captured on the soundless surveillance footage. At some point, the student begins to walk toward the door, and Dupre wraps his arm around the boy's neck and forces him to the ground. Seconds later, the officer stands up, lifts the student upside down and throws him to the ground.
A second officer, Cipriano, walks in and slams the student against the table.
Much of the confrontation happens on the floor and can't be seen in the footage. But Dupre appears to be moving his arms repeatedly, as if punching someone. Staffers, seemingly in panic, stand nearby. One employee can be seen covering her face with her hands.
Authorities have said little about the confrontation, which occurred Oct. 5 at Brusly Middle School in Brusly, Louisiana, just south of Baton Rouge, according to local media. And it still remains unclear why the officers acted with such force against the teen. WAFB reported that the boy admitted reaching for Dupre's gun during the scuffle. In the video, a staffer can be seen picking up the gun from the floor and placing it on the table.
Kwame Asante, an attorney for the teen's family, told the Advocate that the boy had gotten into an argument with a school official that day over how long he should be in detention. The teen had been placed on detention for cursing. Asante did not return calls from The Washington Post.
Both Dupre and Cipriano have resigned from the Brusly Police Department, according to media reports. It was not immediately clear whether they have an attorney.
Brusly Police Chief Jonathan Lefeaux and the West Baton Rouge Parish School District did not respond to requests for comment.
A spokesman for Louisiana State Police, which investigated the incident, referred inquiries to the West Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney's Office. Tony Clayton, the lead prosecutor, did not respond to requests for comment.
Asante told the Advocate that the teen's family felt the charges were a "slap on the wrist."
Malfeasance in office is punishable by up to five years in prison, or a fine of up to $5,000, or both. Simple battery carries a punishment of up to six months in prison, or up to $1,000 in fines, or both.
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