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Off-Duty Police Officer Accused Of Kneeling On 12-Year-Old Girl’s Neck While Breaking Up School Fight

Photo: YouTube
off duty police officer kneeling on student's neck

An off-duty Kenosha police officer was captured on video surveillance using a dangerous method of restraint on a 12-year-old girl while trying to break up a fight at the middle school.

The footage showed a fight breaking out between two students in the Lincoln Middle School cafeteria. That's when Shawn Guetschow, 37, who had been hired at the school as a part-time security guard, can be seen trying to break up the altercation.

Video shows the police officer kneeling on a 12-year-old girl's neck.

Guetschow gets into a brief scuffle with one of the students, who appears to push the officer before he pins her to the ground and kneels on her neck.

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He's shown in the clip using the chokehold maneuver for nearly 25 seconds on the student before handcuffing her and removing her from the room. 

The Kenosha School District released the footage of the incident that took place on March 4 in response to a request made by the girl's father, Jerrel Perez, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The security guard used an outlawed method of restraint.

The use of chokeholds by police officers was outlawed in Wisconsin in 2021 after the murder of George Floyd, except in instances of self-defense or life-threatening circumstances.

Now the girl's father is calling for charges to be filed against Guetschow, saying in a news conference, "She's humiliated, she's traumatized. Every day I gotta hear, 'Daddy, I don't wanna go to school.'"

Perez said that after the incident, he thought that his daughter was trying to get out of her punishment when she complained about pain in her neck but said that hours later he watched the video of the officer kneeling on her neck.

"I want to see this officer get charged," Perez said, adding that his daughter is in therapy and seeing a doctor due to a neck injury. "It breaks me because I wasn't there to help her," he continued. "I felt helpless."

According to the Kenosha Police Department, after a fight broke out between two students in the cafeteria during lunch, Kenosha Unified School District employees, including the off-duty officer, intervened and one staff member was injured.

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"K.P.D. has watched the video clip and has seen the photo which has been widely shared on social media over the weekend. We are keenly aware of the significant sensitivity surrounding the photo. K.P.D., together with K.U.S.D. is investigating the incident in its entirety while being cautious not to make conclusions based off of a small piece of information shared on social media," police said in a statement.

"Both agencies will look to our respective policies and procedures for guidance in this circumstance. It is the highest priority of those officers who work in our schools to provide a safe and secure learning environment for our children and staff."

Guetschow, who has been an officer with the Kenosha police department for four years, resigned from his position at the school following the incident.

In a letter of resignation written to Kenosha Superintendent Beth Ormseth, Guetschow said, "Given the events that have taken place and the escalated attention this incident at Lincoln Middle School has caused in the community, mental and emotional strain it has bought (sic) upon my family, and the lack of communication and or support I have received from the district, I can no longer continue my employment with the Kenosha Unified School District."

The family's attorney, Drew DeVinney, said the officer's knee was on her neck for an "unconscionable duration," and that the girl has been defending herself from being bullied, adding "at no point did Jerrel's daughter push or strike at this officer."

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.

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