Jeffersontown police chief defends actions by officers at high school

Two videos show incident at Jeffersontown High School

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- It's the story of one incident and two videos inside a Jefferson County Public School.

Cell phone video started circling social media less than an hour after the incident happened Wednesday afternoon.  It shows what looks like Jeffersontown Police Officers kicking and holding down a student at Jeffersontown High School.

Shortly after that video hit the internet, WHAS 11 News received a call into our newsroom from a student who showed us a different video, one that captures the seconds before the student was being held down by police. 

“It was scary because I mean, seeing kids fight each other is one thing, but seeing a kid go after an adult, and not just an adult but a police officer, it was terrifying,” that student told us, who wanted to remain anonymous. 

The student said the officer was attacked first and showed WHAS 11 News video of that officer being punched in the face then shoved into the wall.  Seconds later, it appears other officers stepped in to tackle the same student who punched the officer.

JCPS told WHAS 11 News a taser was used on the student and video shows an officer then holding a taser up to the crowd. 

“If you were there, I think you might understand it,” the student explained. “For four officers to be surrounded by hundreds of teenagers that are angry and yelling awful things at them, I think protecting themselves was a key thing and a good move by him.”

The Jeffersontown Police Department said this was the third fight of the day at Jeffersontown High on Monday and it was believed to start in the cafeteria over headphones.  Police said the student in that fight was arrested, that's when his brother reacted by attacking the officer. 

“Our officers were not in the wrong at all, we all saw what really happened and for one video to be shown and not the other is crazy to me,” said the student.

One student told WHAS 11 News that even if the officer was attacked, it doesn't justify three officers beating him on the ground.  Jeffersontown Police Chief Ken Hatmaker said he defends the actions by his officers.

“Even with three officers, this young man still fought and it wasn't a fight to get away, it was an active aggression on these officers and it took the initial officer and the two that assisted him to get him cuffed,” explained Hatmaker.   

Hatmaker said three officers were injured during the incident.  The student seen in the video has also been arrested.  He and his brother are charged with 3rd-degree assault and resisting arrest.

Jeffersontown High did send out an alert to parents.  The school is reviewing security footage to figure out every student involved in this afternoon's event with plans to discipline those students.

The incident is still under investigation while police look for more video to put the entire story together.   

Police said there will be increased security at the high school on Thursday.    

Click here to read a statement from Black Lives Matter. 

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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