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Las Vegas School District Releases Footage Of Violent Arrest Of Teen 11 Months After It Occurred

The incident involving student too place in February 2023.

A Las Vegas school district has finally released police reports and officer body cam footage that depicts a white police officer kneeling on a Black student in an incident that happened in 2023. As the Associated Press reports, the incident drew comparisons to the murder of George Floyd from students, and was met with accusations of police brutality as video of the encounter spread on social media.

According to an incident report by Clark County School District police Lt. Jason Elfberg, the teenager (whose name is redacted) declined to step away as officers were handcuffing another student. This occurred during an investigation into a report about a gun being displayed the previous day, along with a threat to “shoot up” a Las Vegas school. No weapon was discovered.

Elfberg’s actions resulted in protests and calls for him to be fired. It was a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada that made school district officials release information about the incident. Late on Jan. 18, school officials finally released the footage of the incident, which occurred on Feb 9, 2023. The six clips’ cumulative runtime is over two hours and blurs out the faces of students and other scenes. 

The district said that the records of the encounter between Elfberg and the students should not be released because of the ages of those who had been detained. As such, the district denied several media requests for those records. On Jan. 19, the ACLU said that the district fighting its attempts to get the records for nearly a full year was “shameful;” they also described the police’s description of events as “an attempt to spin the events and avoid accountability for attacking school children.”

ACLU Executive Director Athar Haseebullah noted in a statement that the ACLU’s lawsuit representing two students is still ongoing, both were 14-year-old male students at the time of the incident.

Elfberg’s account of the incident states that things escalated after he instructed the student to start walking, but the teenager told him no. At that point, Elfberg states, “I then grabbed (the teen) who immediately pulled away and started pulling his hands from my grasp, and yelling at me not to touch him.” Elfberg continued, saying that after he pushed the student against a fence, “he (the teen) attempted again to remove himself from my grasp, so I then spun him around and took him down to the ground.”

There have been calls for Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson to investigate during a joint news conference with ACLU lawyer Christopher Peterson and NAACP Las Vegas President Quentin Sawvoir.

Peterson, meanwhile, emphasized the rights of those who observe the police, saying that they can “film, criticize and question officers,” before adding that the video showed Elfberg threatening to pepper spray those who were watching. Peterson also said that the students “bravely stood their ground on a public sidewalk facing threats of retaliation.”

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