• Student says officer choked her while trying to remove her from bus

    By: Catherine Varnum


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Action News is talking with the student who says a school resource officer was choking her.

    She claims a Duval County Public Schools officer went to far when trying to remove her from a school bus this week. “He was banging my head against the window,” said Nukya Thomas. She’s an eighth-grader at Mandarin Middle School. She says she went to get on the bus Tuesday afternoon, but was told by the driver she couldn't because it wasn't her assigned bus.

    But she and her mother disagree, and her mom told her not to get off the bus. “My mom was like stay on the bus, it's your assigned bus,” said Thomas.

    Thomas tells us after several minutes, the bus driver called the Duval County Public Schools officer. She says he was nice at first then things escalated.

    “I'm thinking you have no right to put your hands on me. I didn't touch you, and you don't touch me,” said Thomas.

    Action News showed the video to Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti. “I think you see a couple things play out in the video. You obviously see some disrespect being perpetuated by the student. There’s level of defiance that the student is returning. The question is did the officer go too far to bring  this student's behavior down,” said Vitti.

    The school district tells us the school should've been able to figure out if Thomas was on the right bus. We've also reached out multiple times to Bernie Bus Services to get their side of the story, but have not heard back from them. Vitti says what happened before and after the video is also key to the investigation. “In this case it needs a broader investigation looking into the facts beyond the video. I think the video speaks for itself in some regards but there's always those mitigating factors that may not have been picked up by the video,” said Vitti.

    Thomas was taken downtown to JSO and has been charged with trespassing and resisting with violence. Vitti tells us if their investigation deems the officer went too far, he will be disciplined. 

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