3 Putnam City Students Say They Were Beaten By Campus Police

Tuesday, September 10th 2013, 11:00 pm
By: News 9

Three Putnam City North High School students speak out after a violent encounter with campus police during last Friday's football game. The three say they have several bumps and bruises and now a 10-day suspension.

The three students, all siblings arrived to the rival game just before half-time Friday night. They were told the stadium was too full, and they had to leave. It's what's happened next that now has their parents furious.

"It really didn't seem real to be honest," said student, Kenyatta Johnson.

Fourteen-year-old Kenyatta, 16-year-old Kyasha, and 15-year-old Kariah Johnson say what happened Friday night still has them in shock. The three say after they were told they couldn't get into the stadium, they began to leave.

"We saw like 10 police officers, they was like, ya'll need to leave the premises, and I was like sir, that's what we're doing," said Kyasha Johnson. "We're calling our parents."

Kyasha believes the back talk infuriated the officer. She says the officer told her to 'shut up' during the verbal exchange. That's when her brother, Kenyatta stepped in, in her defense telling the officer not to speak to her that way.

"He just grabbed me, and threw me against the fence, then he threw me on the floor," said Kenyatta. "He hit me in the face, and then grabbed my hand out."

Kenyatta's mother says he has congenital scoliosis, and the officer slamming him into the ground and putting his knee in his back may have made his condition worse.

"He said, 'grow some ball little expletive,'" said Kenyatta.

Kenyatta's sister, Kariah says she tried to help her brother up off the ground.

"I looked up and I saw an officer rushing to me, and he tackled me, and I flew from a curb to another," said Kariah.

Five Putnam City campus officers gave their version of what happened at Friday night's game. According to their report, "All the juveniles were being belligerent and not obeying commands."

"One student jumped on the back of a police office, put an arm around his neck, hit him on the side of the head. Another student took a swing at police officers," said Steve Lindley, Putnam City Schools.

The family's attorney, Tony Coleman says the district violated its own suspension policy.

"Every district in the state of Oklahoma obviously has the authority to regulate their own policies and procedures, Putnam City is no different. Pursuant to their policy, anytime a student is suspended for a period of time that exceeds five days they are to send home with that student core unit material so that they can stay on track with their studies and not fall behind," said Coleman.

"Additionally, they are even allowed for a 10 day period of time to make up any days that they would have lost to include test taking. This wasn't done here. When mom contacted me, the only thing that she presented to me was the notice of short term suspension. That was it. They weren't provided with anything. That's a due process requirement that they're entitled to that wasn't followed here."

Coleman says the only exception when they're not required to do that is if in fact the student is accused of being in possession of a firearm. He says if the teens were accused of being in possession of a firearm, they are not required to provide them course material. In fact, Coleman says they are precluded from making up any lost time as a result of a suspension.

The suspensions of the three students have been appealed.