Student, 12, Faces Charges After Officer Knelt on Her Neck During Incident

Local news reported in March that a school officer from the Kenosha Unified School District in Kenosha, Wis., placed his knee on a 12-year-old student’s neck to restrain her during a fight in the school cafeteria. CNN reported last week that the student is now facing disorderly conduct charges related to the incident, according to her family lawyer.

“A juvenile delinquency petition has been filed against Jane Doe in Kenosha County,” said family attorney Drew DeVinney. “However, the proceedings and court filings are confidential.” The full details of the complaint, as well as comments from the Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office, were not available because the student is a minor.

Video released in March shows an off-duty police officer putting his knee on the student’s neck for more than 20 seconds while trying to break up the fight, according to CNN. The Kenosha Police Department has confirmed to CNN that disorderly conduct charges have been referred to prosecutors for “both juveniles involved in the incident.”

The officer, Shawn Guetschow, resigned from his position with the school district in March but is still an officer with the police department. Because of the visual similarities to the former Minneapolis Police Department officer who killed George Floyd, Kenosha Police forwarded the investigation to the FBI. The FBI has not responded to any questions about the incident.

"Looking at that picture, it destroyed me," said Jerrel Perrez, the girl’s father, in March. "All it takes is just a little bit, especially for a 12-year-old girl. We've seen a grown man die from that same situation, just imagine a fragile 12-year-old's neck."

DeVinney has also filed paperwork for a civil suit against Guetschow, among other parties—including the Kenosha Unified School District. “No criminal charges have been filed against Officer Guetschow, who we understand remains employed with the Kenosha Police Department,” DeVinney wrote in the notice of claim. “The difference between how an adult with a badge and a child with Black skin are being treated should offend everyone’s sense of morality, ethics, and justice.”

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning and Campus Security and Life Safety. He can be reached at MJones@1105media.com

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