The Osceola County School Resource Officer who threw a Liberty High School female student to the ground in January will not face criminal charges, state attorney Monique Worrell announced on Tuesday.
According to Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Ethan Fournier, Liberty High School’s SRO, was trying to break up a fight between the girl and another student when the incident took place. An investigation began in January after a social media video went national showing the SRO throwing a female student to the ground as he attempted to arrest her.
Attorneys released a statement on Tuesday following the decision:
“The facts of this case are laid out for everyone to see in that disturbing video. A Black teenager was violently body-slammed to the ground, knocked unconscious, and handcuffed at her own school by Deputy Fournier. That kind of force is aggressive, unacceptable, and not at all what it looks like to de-escalate a situation between high school girls.”
The incident was the catalyst for Osceola School board member Julius Melendez to create an SRO Task Force in the district to examine SRO procedures and to make policy recommendations to the board with a goal of creating better relationships between SRO’s and students.
In July, the Osceola School Board approved contracts with the Kissimmee Police Department, St. Cloud Police Department, and Osceola County Sheriff’s Office to continue to provide school resource officer on each public school campus.
Each SRO will be required to have at least 40 hours of training and must be wearing a body camera. It is also recommended that SROs issue civil citations instead of arrests for any non-violent criminal actions at the schools.