School district officials in Oakland, Calif. have released shocking surveillance video showing a school security guard pummeling a wheelchair-bound student.
The incident occurred on May 19 at around 9 a.m., reports local Fox affiliate KTVU.
The student, 17-year-old Francisco Martinez, has cerebral palsy and is currently in therapy to try to make his legs move.
According to district officials, the video shows the guard, Marchell Mitchell, pushing Martinez in his wheelchair down a school corridor. Mitchell leans down as if the sophomore is saying something. Then, Mitchell raises his right arm and smacks Martinez upside the head. A few seconds later, Mitchell strikes the kid again.
According to Oakland Unified School District spokesman Troy Flint, Mitchell finished off the beat-down by “dumping” Martinez “out of his wheelchair and onto the floor.”
“I hit the floor with my chin first,” Martinez told KTVU.
Flint said the incident began when Mitchell and another unidentified school security officer ordered Martinez and a few other students loitering in a hallway to get to class. When Martinez didn’t go, Mitchell began to push Martinez’s wheelchair. Martinez protested. He also whacked Mitchell on the hands.
Martinez told KTVU that Mitchell had tossed him to the ground in an elevator prior to the hallway pummeling. At that point, Martinez said, Mitchell put handcuffs on the wheelchair-ridden teen.
The sophomore confessed that he spit on Mitchell — likely at the point in the video when Mitchell leaned down.
“I was handcuffed, so I didn’t have no way to defend myself but my mouth,” he told KTVU.
The teen also claimed that, just after the scuffle, Mitchell told him, “I hope you don’t walk for two to three weeks.”
Martinez said he is suffering severe pain and has now been to the hospital twice. His mother said he has injuries to his face and neck as well as his arms.
The superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District, Gary Yee, has paid a visit to Martinez.
“I think the actions we saw in the video were really appalling and should never happen under any circumstances,” Yee told the San Jose Mercury News. “I went to his house and personally expressed my concern for what happened. He appreciated it. He shared his perspective with us.”
Yee added that Martinez declined the invitation to enroll in a different school.