Ventura County

Oxnard police defend arrest of Hueneme High School student

OXNARD, Calif. - The Oxnard Police Department said a school resource officer behaved appropriately when he detained a teen girl on campus.

The incident happened on September 25 at Hueneme High School in Oxnard.

A teen girl was arrested for battery and resistance of a school resource officer following an argument with a fellow student and a struggle with the school's resource officer. Video of her arrest was shared on social media. 

After a two-week investigation about the controversial incident, Oxnard Police Department released an update about the arrest and more information on the circumstances of the event. 

Oxnard Assistant Police Chief Jason Benites said, "The bystander video footage is limited in its scope, depicts only a small portion of what actually happened. This can mislead the audience. Unfortunately, when partial information quickly spreads across television and social media, it can easily contribute to a damaging false narrative.  The messages from last week's incident at Hueneme High School are such a case."

The police department says a body cam that was worn by the officer during the time of the incident better illustrates all the details leading up to the arrest.

The original incident happened on September 25 around 3:20 p.m. An Oxnard Police School Resource Officer was working at his assigned campus at Hueneme High School. 

The officer and a campus administrator were monitoring the school's dismissal, and they say they saw a large group of student gathering on the campus. 

Both the officer and the campus administrator saw two teenage girls engaged in a hostile verbal exchange. Police said one of the girls was the primary aggressor. 

The officer requested that another school staff member take the aggressive student to the office to prevent a fight. 

Police say the administrator contacted the student, but she refused to comply and then turned away and walked off the campus. 

After walking a short distance, she began to walk back to the area. 

According to Benites, the officer, believing the student was coming back to start a confrontation, approached the girl and said, "Hi, come with me." 

The student replied saying, "No, no no, no!" 

The department says the officer initiated a legal detention and placed her in a compliance hold. The officer then began escorting the teenage girl towards the school's office. 

Police say the student was actively resisting and at one point grabbed the officer's hand. The officer warned her and her response included swearing and active physical resistance, police said. 

During the incident, the officer brought the teen to the ground. The student then punched the officer several times, including his face and knocking off his sunglasses. 

The officer then placed her into handcuffs. 

The teen was arrested for resisting a peace officer and for misdemeanor battery on a peace officer. 

She was cited and released to her parents. 

Benites said in a statement, "The officer had a right to contact and detain this student, who was causing a disturbance on campus.  The officer requested that the student come with him, and she resisted verbally, then physically. The officer used proper arrest and control techniques throughout the encounter, and exercised restraint despite being punched several times, including in his face."

The Oxnard Police Department say the officer's actions were within policy and the department's Professional Standard Division reviewed the matter and agreed that the officer's actions were within policy. 

Police Chief Scott Whitney said, "Our officers have a tough job. We work closely with the schools to maintain safe campuses. This officer was trying to prevent a fight or other violence on the campus. This incident was properly handled by the officer."


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