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Gwinnett group accuses school police officers of assaulting student

A group of Gwinnett County activists wants two school resource officers fired, saying the officers used excessive force against a 16-year-old male student to break up a fight, leaving him bloodied and unconscious.

The Gwinnett Parent Coalition to Dismantle the School to Prison Pipeline, which has been critical of Gwinnett’s school disciplinary policies, has scheduled a press conference before Thursday’s Gwinnett school board meeting to speak about the incident.

“Police brutality will not be tolerated,” said Marlyn Tillman, the group’s founder.

Gwinnett school officials strongly dispute the allegations, saying the officers “acted appropriately and followed proper procedures.”

In a statement, the school district noted “at no time have these students or their parents contacted the school with concerns about this situation or how it was handled by the school resource officers.”

The incident occurred Feb. 7 at South Gwinnett High School in Snellville, according to a police report provided by the coalition. Gwinnett officials say several officers were called to stop a fight involving three male students.

The group says as one officer handcuffed the student, another officer used a maneuver that took the student to the ground and left him bloodied. The police report, written by Officer Wes Hardin, says he was responding to a fight on campus. It doesn’t mention any injuries to students. Three students were charged with disruption of a school, and one was charged with obstruction of an officer.

The coalition said it learned of the incident when it saw the photo on social media. The coalition distributed a photo Wednesday of an officer with his right knee in the back of a young man.

The police report lists the assisting officers as Carlos Floyd and Gene Hamilton. The officers handcuffed the student while Floyd him took down, student witnesses told coalition members. The coalition has called for Hardin and Floyd to be fired.

Gwinnett, like most larger Georgia school districts, has its own police force which has powers of arrest.

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