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JCPS To Review Incident With J-Town Police

Jefferson County Public Schools Acting Superintendent Marty Pollio is calling for internal reviews of an incident where Jeffersontown Police held down, kicked and used a Taser on a high school student.

Pollio announced the reviews during a news conference Thursday. He said two reviews will be conducted: an investigation into whether JCPS staff could have handled the incident differently, and an audit of Jeffersontown High School’s processes to gauge safety and climate.

The staff investigation begins immediately, and Pollio said the safety and climate audit will take place in the coming weeks.

“When I see video that clearly indicates that it’s not a supportive, positive environment for our students, I feel incumbent on me to take action,” Pollio said. “What we essentially want to get down to is what is happening at the school – or what are the reasons behind this – and make sure that we address those issues.”

According to a letter sent by Jeffersontown High School Principal Matt Kingsley, the incident began when the school’s security officer requested Jeffersontown Police help detain a student for fighting. Kingsley said the student’s brother then allegedly struck one of the officers.

Video of the altercation was posted on Twitter Wednesday afternoon by national social justice activist Shaun King, after making the rounds locally.

The video shows officers detaining a student. In the video, one police officer can be seen kicking the student while two other officers hold the student down on the ground. The video skips forward and purportedly shows a police officer using a Taser on the student.

Pollio said he was “shocked” by the video and said the principal’s response was appropriate at the time of the incident, but would’ve preferred to have more information before notifying parents.

Pollio declined to comment Thursday on whether he felt police acted appropriately.

As reported by Wave 3 News, Jeffersontown Police Chief Kenneth Hatmaker defended the officers, and alleged students tugged at the officers’ weapons.

“We attempted to take into custody one of the young men in the fight, and he became verbally and physically combative,” Hatmaker said. “Folks would argue that police were overaggressive — that wasn’t the case.”

Jeffersontown Police Sergeant Britney Garrett said officers involved in the incident are still working and “not on any type of leave or anything like that.”

Pollio said the security officer at the high school is still working at the school.