A 16-year-old Lincoln High School student accused of punching a campus police officer during a lunchtime brawl at the school last week pleaded not guilty Wednesday to five charges in Juvenile Court.
Deputy District Attorney Minaz Bhayani told Juvenile Court Judge Browder Willis that the fight broke out Friday after a group of students were “play fighting” and “slap boxing” near the school gym.
The campus police officer who responded to the scene thought he noticed cuts and blood on the 16-year-old’s forehead and tried to render aid, but the boy ran off into a parking lot, Bhayani said.
The officer tried to make contact with the teen again, but the boy became aggressive and hit him, the prosecutor alleged. Bhayani said the officer then tried to handcuff the minor on the hood of a car, but the boy allegedly punched him six or seven times.
Another minor came up from behind and hit the officer, who fell to the ground, according to Bhayani, who alleged both minors then hit the officer another seven to eight times.
The officer lost consciousness and suffered a concussion. He was coming out of that state of unconsciousness when he deployed a Taser on the accused, the prosecutor said.
At least 100 students surrounded the downed officer while he was being hit, Bhayani said.
The officer has pain in his neck and face, is confined to a wheelchair, and has no feeling in his right hand due to suspected nerve damage, Bhayani told the judge.
Despite the Probation Department’s recommendation for detention at Juvenile Hall, the judge allowed the accused to be released to his parents under home detention and electronic surveillance, leaving his house only to go to school.
Prosecutors did file charges against a second minor, but it was not clear if that was the juvenile who allegedly hit the officer from behind. A hearing on those court proceedings was closed to the public.
A readiness conference is set for March 11.
— City News Service