School officer disciplined

  • Follow Metro

A Richmond County school police officer has been disciplined for applying excessive force to a female student who was handcuffed.

Officer David Barrios has been suspended for 20 days without pay, is on probation for the remainder of the school year and will be reassigned for his actions at the Academy of Richmond County on Aug. 30, Superintendent Dana Bedden said on Monday.

A letter of reprimand will also be placed in the officer's personnel file.

"While I believe, (the student) acted inappropriately, the facts indicate that at no time did she show threatening or aggressive behavior towards you or any other employee or students, as witnessed by others, which would warrant such strong enforcement action on your part," Dr. Bedden said in the letter.

The officer said he hadn't seen the letter when reached at home for comment.

According to the reprimand, the student instigated one of several fights that broke out on campus, and Officer Barrios handcuffed her after she refused to leave.

He then brought her into the school's administrative offices, where teachers and students witnessed him press her against a wall, put her on the floor and "continued to aggressively control her" as she tried to move around, the letter said.

The officer ignored attempts by a teacher and students to intervene in what they perceived to be unnecessary handling of the student, and then he pulled out his baton.

"After the situation seemed to be calming down, you finally sprayed your pepper spray without warning, in the confined space of the office for no valid reason," the letter said.

Two employees suffered "side effects" as a result of the pepper spray, the letter said.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (93) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
justus4
113
Points
justus4 09/11/07 - 04:56 am
0
0
Good job Bedden! That how you
Unpublished

Good job Bedden! That how you deal with officers that misuse their authority. Other law enforcement agencies could learn from your leadership. Local law enforcement would have lied about every fact leading to pepper spray being used. (They probably would have drawn weapons) claiming fear for their life. Again, sound judgement and decisive actions are positive developments and will set the standard for RCBE. KEEP CHARGING!

Waymore
114
Points
Waymore 09/11/07 - 05:04 am
0
0
n/a

BakersfieldCityLimits
1
Points
BakersfieldCityLimits 09/11/07 - 05:12 am
0
0
Finally someone who will

Finally someone who will stand up when law enforcement officers abuse and mistreat our young people. There will no doubt be a hefty law suit and payout to punish this man for his actions. I can't wait to see all the excuses that are put forth as to why it was Ok to engage in the torture of a young lady.

bigc
1
Points
bigc 09/11/07 - 05:59 am
0
0
As a law enforcement officer

As a law enforcement officer I will say justus4 and D1216 you are both wrong. If the officer in question was using excessive force or engaging "...in the torture of a young lady" he or she should be terminated and prosecuted. They should not be allowed to return to work after a 20 day suspension. Two words, vicarious liability. Makes me wonder how bad the incident really was.

oh bull
0
Points
oh bull 09/11/07 - 06:01 am
0
0
here's an idea .... teach

here's an idea .... teach your kids to behave!

jack234
852
Points
jack234 09/11/07 - 06:06 am
0
0
But when they don't (and

But when they don't (and sometime they won't) no officer has the right to use excessive force.

oh bull
0
Points
oh bull 09/11/07 - 06:09 am
0
0
parents today are always

parents today are always looking for someone to blame...but the fault is theirs for not teaching their kids how to behave.

SoWhat
0
Points
SoWhat 09/11/07 - 06:10 am
0
0
"According to the reprimand,

"According to the reprimand, the student instigated one of several fights" and we are referring to her as a "lady".

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 09/11/07 - 06:15 am
0
0
Don't start nothin' and there

Don't start nothin' and there won't be nothin'. Should the officer just be a figurehead? If the student was just standing calmly, the officer should be in jail. If the student was yelling and threating to erupt into violence (as a fighter will) then the officer may have been justified. A school officer job is a great way to ruin the rest of your life.

gab91494
0
Points
gab91494 09/11/07 - 06:17 am
0
0
Just curious, but since when

Just curious, but since when was handcuffing considered excessive force? I was there so I don't know what all took place. I am not defending him by any means, but if the child had instigated a fight, then maybe it was necessary to keep it from going any further. I have seen and heard other stories about teachers, coaches and others grabbing students by their shirts and throwing them against the wall, this, in my opinion is closer to excessive force than handcuffing. Now if the officer treated her as though she was running away or fighting him to get away and he used other moves, then I can see where some excessive force was used. Maybe the officers (all) need additional training, safety and all.

CHIEF
2
Points
CHIEF 09/11/07 - 06:22 am
0
0
Dana, Your a fool too if you

Dana, Your a fool too if you beleive those kids are innocent and you just made them non players in security stupid. The next time you have a murder or serious crime ask yourself why the officers did not respond well.

BakersfieldCityLimits
1
Points
BakersfieldCityLimits 09/11/07 - 06:23 am
0
0
The school guard should have

The school guard should have done what they are trained to do in the first place, call the sheriff's office. He choose to jump in there and attack the young lady based on what? Now that the torture session has been publisized it all gonna be put down to her causing fights. Thank you Dr. Bedden for protecting all students from this type of abuse.

pofwe
5
Points
pofwe 09/11/07 - 06:32 am
0
0
She's is just a trashy

She's is just a trashy troublemaker without any home training. She should have been locked up for several days to "cool-out."
I'd love to see her grades. She needs to be home schooled ... but nobody at home can teach anything ... but ghetto behavior!!!

ripjones
2
Points
ripjones 09/11/07 - 06:57 am
0
0
Oh, where do I begin?? First

Oh, where do I begin?? First off, if the girl started several fights, I agree, she is no lady. Next, why would he need to call Richmond County? He is a trained and certified Law Enforcement Officer. He has arrest powers just like a Deputy. If she was refusing to sit, I would have just used my second set of cuffs, and cuffed her to a bench or something. Problem is also, she might have outweighed the officer. Lastly, I think pepper spray is to be used before they're cuffed, not afterwards. I really wish that the Sheriff's Office in both Richmond and Columbia County, would merge the existing BOE officers in with their own departments, and have all BOEs in the State worry about education, and not Law Enforcement.

GuyIncognito
1
Points
GuyIncognito 09/11/07 - 07:00 am
0
0
Why don't I buy that the

Why don't I buy that the officer abused his authority? Way to go Richmond County... way to hamstring your school's police officers like you've already done to the teachers. It must be nice to let the kids run out of control.

Unbelievable
88
Points
Unbelievable 09/11/07 - 07:06 am
0
0
So lets see, she was starting

So lets see, she was starting fights, refusing to leave, and then not listening when the officer told her to stay put, after handcuffing her. She is a low-life. She got what she deserved, and unfortunately, she will probably sue the county and win 20million dollars that we will have to pay for. All because of poor upbringing and an entitlement society. What do you think is going through an officers mind as he is trying to break up a fight, and get the instigator to leave, all while being surrounded by other students, all who are probably his size? Anyone would feel threatened. Maybe had she been worried about education, or just leaving when asked to do so, this whole incident would have been avoided.

karmakills123
8
Points
karmakills123 09/11/07 - 07:12 am
0
0
Let me guess the trouble

Let me guess the trouble maker was black ...the teachers were black...the witnesses were black............... and even of this officer were black.... because he was a figure of authority he did not stand a chance at someone telling the truth. This is sad but true.

work for a living
0
Points
work for a living 09/11/07 - 07:21 am
0
0
Welcome to Augusta Dr.

Welcome to Augusta Dr. Bedden, this is exactly what you will have to deal with, trouble making students (but it is never their fault), honor students who apparently can't score too well on a SAT test and parents who just don't give a rip unless you challenge the dress code, then they crawl out of their holes to protest their child being able to express themselves. Try to get those parents to a PTO meeting, well my 7:00 game show comes on and I just can't make it. I guess when their is a Virginia masacre our officers will be blamed for not being forcefull enough. Apparently this will be as always a no win situation for anyone other than the student who was the cause of the whole situation. I don't condone being too forcefull but when you have to deal with these hulligans that are sent to school so their parents don't have to deal with them then you know these officers just might feel like choking the mess out of them. I guess now these parents will be suing the school system. So I guess we shouldn't expect any different than we had with Dr. Clarke, failing school system and it's not the kids/parents fault!

moneyman1035
0
Points
moneyman1035 09/11/07 - 07:31 am
0
0
OMG you people think that she

OMG you people think that she should be pampered I guess? If you so called parents would allow children to get a good paddeling they sure would not act like they have no manners or raising and if yall would do it at home you bettter off

Lucy123
0
Points
Lucy123 09/11/07 - 07:32 am
0
0
I have seen many fights in

I have seen many fights in several high schools. In every case, the school safety officer was called to help restrain students involved. In some cases, handcuffs were used. The ones that I saw handcuffed were asked to sit in a chair and calm down. It sounds in this case that the officer was almost trying to feed the student's anger by moving her around and it certainly sounds to me that the pepper spray was unnecessary. I would say that the pepper spray was the excessive force, NOT the handcuffs. If he had just asked her to sit and calm down instead of holding her against the wall and putting her on the floor, and if he had not used the pepper spray, I doubt he would have been suspended. However, if he asked her to sit and she refused and continued to try to walk around, that's another story, but it doesn't sound like that's what happened. Another thing, we aren't told what the student's punishment was. She started a fight, she at least initially disobeyed a school safety officer, I certainly hope she was suspended for a few days herself.

mojoinaugusta
35
Points
mojoinaugusta 09/11/07 - 07:45 am
0
0
So what did happen with the

So what did happen with the student? Everyone is rushing to judgement on the officer(s); however, none of the news stories even mention what happened to the student who instigated this mess.

sanders20
0
Points
sanders20 09/11/07 - 08:07 am
0
0
hats off to the police in

hats off to the police in this one. maybe a little exessive...but i bet she and others won't do this in the future.

Wilson
0
Points
Wilson 09/11/07 - 08:08 am
0
0
This child instigated fights.

This child instigated fights. I say teach you child how to behave at home and he/she will not have incidents with law enforcers. What if her actions had lead to a riot? Good Job officer maybe the other kids will think twice before attempting to start trouble.

Unbelievable
88
Points
Unbelievable 09/11/07 - 08:09 am
0
0
If it was one of my children,

If it was one of my children, acting like that, the treatment from the officer would be a welcome relief. Im not saying I would take them home and hit them with a stick and spray them with pepper spray, but they would be eating dinner standing up. My kids have manners and respect. Something this young lady was never taught by her parents. "LUCY" - First he told her to leave the school premises. Second he handcuffed her, for failing to obey. I doubt 'sit down and calm down' would work. I have been in these 'administrative' offices, they arent big, if he is trying to get her to sit down, and she is kicking and flailing around, his only option is to put her on the ground. Knee in back. If there are only 10, teachers and students in this same office, think of how confined it is. They are all yelling, he is in defense mode. The baton, and pepper spray, are for his protection. The BOE police are outnumbered in every school, what happens if one of these students hits him from behind and all heck breaks loose? You think a couple of teachers can stop a riot?

Unbelievable
88
Points
Unbelievable 09/11/07 - 08:11 am
0
0
And why are students in

And why are students in there? If it is an administrative office, the teachers and administrators could have helped the officer, by keeping the students out. Of course that makes too much sense.

kai@reasontostand.org
1
Points
kai@reasontostand.org 09/11/07 - 08:27 am
0
0
Whatever happened to the

Whatever happened to the swift and certain application of justice? As bigc put it, if the officer was indeed using excessive force, he should no longer be an officer and ought to . However, since he is only being suspended without pay, we can safely assume that his punishment is merely the pacification of the same sort of angry mob he apparently was attempting to dissipate. I wonder why this story didn't include more details of the alleged "victim" beyond the tell-tale fact that she apparently doesn't have much character.

Augusta Mom
1
Points
Augusta Mom 09/11/07 - 08:28 am
0
0
I she started fights she

I she started fights she should have immediately been expelled and then sent to Alternative School for the rest of the year.I don't want anyone (even a girl) who is that violent and out of control around my children. Since her parent(s) have not been able to teach her any better than this ghetto behavior, it's time someone else did! Who was to say that she didn't have a weapon?

KingJames
11
Points
KingJames 09/11/07 - 08:29 am
0
0
When I started reading this

When I started reading this story I thought, "What kind of message about respect for authority does disciplining a police officer send to the kids?" Then I read more about how he didn't just restrain the girl, but he handcuffed her and threw her up against a wall and onto the floor, took out his baton, and after he gained control of the situation, still used his pepper spray. I can understand trying to contol a bad kid, but I just don't think this girl could have done that much damage to anyone or anything if she was handcuffed. Maybe the officer may have needed to press her against the wall to try to keep her from moving and kicking, but once he had control there was no need to spray her. By detailing the officer's actions in a letter, Dr. Beddon appears to send a clear message that violence and excessive force won't be tolerated by thoe who are employed to ensure a safe and secure learning environment. Granted, the girl was wrong in her actions, but so was the officer and two wrongs don't ever make a right. Were she my daughter, she would much rather be pepper sprayed than endure my wrath. Then again, I would hope my kids would know better than to behave so terribly.

butterflygina
159
Points
butterflygina 09/11/07 - 08:32 am
0
0
Pepper spray AFTER BEING

Pepper spray AFTER BEING HANDCUFFED? She must have been running or knocking stuff down onto him that could have seriously injured someone (example, the sign-in log book on the desk). Anyway, if Dr. Bedden is going to handle the situation like this, that officer who is continually beating students and parents up at Butler is on the way out the door (if he's there this year). Hooray!

mgr
0
Points
mgr 09/11/07 - 08:32 am
0
0
When I was a teenager long

When I was a teenager long before BOE's had police forces when something like that would happen and the police were called we would all do what we were told, not get combative. The officer may have been wrong but how can you truly know by hearing one side of the story. When they equip schools with officers and metal detectors it kinda makes you think we live in a society that doesn't respect each other. Theres a reason we have come to these measures.

Back to Top
loading...
Top headlines

City inspectors look to demolish Goodale House

Rob Sherman, director of Augusta's License and Inspection Department, said his staff plans to ask a State Court judge in early 2015 to order the endangered property, which was built in 1799 and is ...
Search Augusta jobs