School video shows off-duty Kenosha cop kneeling on 12-year-old’s neck

Footage of the now viral video sparks outrage in wake of police murder of George Floyd

Johanna Chisholm
Monday 21 March 2022 14:54
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Off-duty police officer accused of kneeling on 12-year-old girl's neck

Kenosha school officials released surveillance footage last week that shows an off-duty police officer kneeling on a 12-year-old girl’s neck in an attempt to subdue the child after a lunch hour fight broke out between students on 4 March.

The incident at Lincoln Middle School in Kenosha, Wisconsin, had previously been reported after a video captured on smartphone by someone in the cafeteria showed the 37-year-old off-duty officer trying to separate the brawling teens before he was knocked to the ground.

In the recent redacted footage, released by Kenosha Unified School District, officer Shawn Guetschow can be seen intervening in the fight before falling and hitting his head against a nearby table.

The off-duty officer, who was working as a security guard at the school, then shoves the 12-year-old’s head to the ground and pins her neck with his knee for approximately half a minute before cuffing the child and escorting her from the cafeteria.

Footage of the now viral video and the subsequent surveillance footage of Mr Guetschow pinning the girl have sparked outrage, with many saying the incident draws haunting parallels to the kind of chokehold that was used to kill George Floyd in May 2020 at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

After the murder of Mr Floyd, Wisconsin lawmakers banned police from using that kind of restraint tactic unless they found themselves to be in  a life-threatening situation or needing to defend themselves.

The child’s father, Jerrel Perez, plans to sue the Kenosha Police Department and the school that employed Mr Guetschow, who was originally placed on paid leave after the incident but as of last week resigned from his part-time security job.

Mr Perez told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that his daughter, who has suffered psychological and physical injuries requiring both a therapist and neurologist, that his daughter is deeply traumatised from the event and will be out of school for the next two weeks as a result.

“She’s humiliated, she’s traumatised. Everyday I gotta hear, ‘Daddy, I don’t want to go to school,’” Mr Perez said to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel outside the Kenosha Unified School District last Wednesday.

The newspaper later reported that the school district won’t release any additional details about the 4 March event while an investigation into the incident is underway.

Similarly, the Kenosha Police Department has not released any updates on the investigation into the off-duty police officer’s case, but confirms that Mr Guetschow is still employed by the department.

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