- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) - Two white southeast Missouri school officials who are being sued by a black teenager said in a newly released police report that they physically restrained the girl because she was trying to fight another student.

A lawsuit filed on behalf of Ta’Brea Harris said she was treated at a hospital for neck and back injuries following the incident on Dec. 11, 2014. The lawsuit alleges that then-assistant Cape Girardeau Central High School Principal Chris Kase and the school’s athletic director, Lance Tollison, grabbed the then-14-year-old girl and slammed her to the ground.

The two men acknowledged taking her to the ground more than once and placing a knee on her back, according to the police report that was filed after the altercation, the Southeast Missourian reported (https://bit.ly/1X8CIpH ). The two school officials said they were trying to secure the area and prevent someone from getting hurt.

Kase, now principal of the high school, told police he attempted to restrain Harris after she said, “Come on, come on,” toward a student who got off a school bus crying. Tollison told police he ran to assist after he saw what was happening.

Tollison said that while he and Kase tried to restrain Harris, another student circled behind them, provoking Harris and trying to engage in a fight. Kase let go to restrain the other student, and Tollison tried to keep Harris away from the other student.

“During the entire time Ta’Brea was being restrained, she continued to struggle and fight to get loose,” Kase wrote in a voluntary statement. “Even after she was released, she went to the doors of the school in what appeared to be an effort to find the other student.”

Harris described to police being grabbed by school officials and thrown against a wall and to the ground.

The incident was captured on surveillance video, which a judge has temporarily sealed. Cape Girardeau police officer Joseph Tado said the video shows Tollison acting in a controlled and restrained manner while trying to keep Harris from assaulting other students and school-district staff.

Cape Girardeau schools attorney Rebecca Cary said she couldn’t comment on pending litigation. The attorneys for Harris didn’t immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press seeking comment about the police report.

The lawsuit was filed in November. A judge agreed last week to move the civil case to another county because of concerns about lack of diversity in the judicial district that includes Cape Girardeau.



Click to Read More

Click to Hide