ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The arrest of a teenager at a Twin Cities high school is causing controversy.
A Central High School student captured the arrest on video Wednesday and posted it to Facebook. A St. Paul Police officer used a chemical irritant and knee strikes to get a 16-year-old boy, who police say was trespassing, to cooperate.READ MORE: 'We Don't Have To Do It': Mask Mandate Confusion Abound In Twin Cities
Black Lives Matter activists and at least one school board member are upset about the use of force on the teen.
“He should be fired,” King Demetrius Pendleton, who protested outside the high school Thursday, said. “It should be noted he shouldn’t work around young vulnerable children.”
In the video, the teen says he came to the school to speak to a teacher. The district says the teen is a former student at Central High who had transferred out earlier this month.
St. Paul Police told WCCO the school has had several instances of trespassers coming in and causing fights with students. The teen was asked by several staff members and officer Kraus to leave the school before his arrest. Police say he resisted and shoved the officer.
St. Paul Police public information officer Steve Linders said that while “sometimes taking people into custody isn’t pretty”, he also said the department tries to avoid the use of force. Less than 1% of 245,000 calls for service each year involve force.READ MORE: Police Reform A Major Sticking Point As Legislative Session Nears Its End
A St. Paul school board member, Steve Marchese, also criticized the arrest. He posted to his Facebook page:
“I am angry and appalled at the treatment of this young man. Whatever the reason he did not deserve what is depicted in this video.”
”He shouldn’t be harassed and just brutalized like that for a simple reason,” freshman Alayna Albrecht-Payton said.
St. Paul Public Schools released a statement, saying in part:
“Saint Paul Public Schools value our partnership with the Saint Paul Police Department and our School Resource Officers (SROs). SROs have been a fixture in our schools for over 30 years and play an important role in keeping buildings safe and secure. ”MORE NEWS: Minnesota Weather: 80-Degree High Expected Monday; Summery And Damp Week Ahead
Officer Kraus has been with the department for 22 years. The arrest will still be under review and that is standard in any case that involves the use of force.