By Daniel Montaño, Senior Reporter
Link to Video of the incident: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aGBev8VshI
Security’s detention tactics have been called into question by students who witnessed three security officers apprehend and detain a skateboarder for riding in a dismount zone, said Immanuel Colbert, liberal arts major who witnessed the incident.
The skateboarder, who asked to remain nameless until the matter is settled with CNM administration and security, had his skateboard taken and thrown to the ground by officers before they wrestled the skateboarder himself to the ground and began choking him, Colbert said.
Colbert watched and recorded the incident, which took place on Sept. 11 just before 9 a.m. in the parking lot south of Ken Chappy Hall, and believes security officials used excessive force for such a minor violation, he said.
“It just wasn’t appropriate. It wasn’t necessary to do it, but the guard brought the contact and the violence into it. There wouldn’t have been any if he would have just explained to (the skateboarder) why he was coming at him like that. But he didn’t. It was overly aggressive. I’d say completely unnecessary,” Colbert said.
Colbert’s video can be viewed at the CNM Chronicle’s website: thecnmchronicle.wordpress.com.
Colbert is ex-military, so he has been trained in intervention techniques and knows how security and police officers are supposed to deal with a possibly volatile situation, he said.
After stopping the skateboarder, security officers spoke to him and had the chance to resolve the situation without physical force, but the officers escalated the situation to a physical level by pushing the skateboarder in the chest repeatedly before attempting to detain him, Colbert said.
“They’re supposed to assess the situation and calm it down, and this CNM security guard did none of that. He accelerated the situation to physical contact. He didn’t try to use his words to bring it down,” Colbert said.
The security officers were on scene responding to a medical emergency — a faculty member, who also asked not to be named because of the ongoing investigation, had fell and hit her head — when the skateboarder rode by, William Duran, Chief of Security, said.
Duran would not comment on the incident’s details, or whether or not the guards’ actions fell within policy guidelines, because the investigation is ongoing, but did say that initial reports from staff indicate that the officers’ actions were appropriate, he said.
“I’ve had staff, I’ve had faculty members, I’ve had health staff tell us ‘Hey, your officers did what they had to do. She needed to be protected, and that’s what they were doing,’” Duran said.
The faculty member in question was sitting on the east side of KC receiving care from officers for the injury to her head when the skateboarder rode “about as fast as you can go on a skateboard” towards the scene of her accident, she said.
Officers yelled at the skateboarder to dismount, but he continued skating, she said.
“He just kept coming and the security guard treating me said ‘get off that board!’ and the kid yells ‘I’m late!’ and just kept going faster and faster,” she said.
The skateboarder did not hit any of the guards or the faculty member as he went by, she said.
Officers ran after the skateboarder, following him to the south side of KC, which is where he finally dismounted and started speaking to officers, Colbert said.
After repeatedly asking for his skateboard, the security officer took it from the skateboarder’s hands and threw it to the ground, then started pushing the skateboarder’s chest and threw him to the ground, Colbert said.
“Right after they grab him and the initial physical contact happens, and they start tussling around, he slams (the skateboarder) down and starts choking him,” Colbert said.
Colbert recorded the incident and sent it to the skateboarder as evidence in case the skateboarder wished to pursue legal action, Colbert said.
The skateboarder declined to comment on the situation or whether he will be pursuing legal action, because he has been advised “not to talk about anything that has happened,” he said on Monday, Sept. 16.
The faculty member has some bumps and scrapes as well as the cut on her head from the fall, but is fine now after receiving attention from officers and a trip to the hospital, she said.
“Security was the bomb in treating me and kind of securing the scene and all of that. So I really gave them props for being responsive in helping me,” she said.