Wisconsin student, 12, charged after off-duty police officer kneels on her neck while ending fight

A 12-year-old Wisconsin girl, who was photographed on the ground as a Kenosha police officer working security at her school, kneeling on her neck, has been charged with disorderly conduct in connection with the March incident.

Events unfolded after the girl and another student got into a fight in the cafeteria at Lincoln Middle School. Kenosha Police Officer Shawn Guetschow, a four-year veteran of the force, was off duty and working part-time in school security at the time; when he intervened to end the fight, he tried to restrain the 12-year-old and was captured on cellphone footage kneeling on the girl’s neck for more than 20 seconds.

She was handcuffed and taken away and is now facing charges, according to a lawyer for the girl’s family.

“A juvenile delinquency petition has been filed against Jane Doe in Kenosha County,” Drew DeVinney told CNN. “However, lawsuits and court proceedings are confidential.”

The Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office said The Independent would not comment on any matters involving minors, and a Kenosha Police Department spokesperson did not immediately return a message.

In March, the department confirmed to CNN that a charge of disorderly conduct had been forwarded to prosecutors for each girl involved in the incident, but the status of any charges involving the second student was not immediately clear on Friday.

Not only did the March 4 incident once again highlight racial unrest in Kenosha, where Kyle Rittenhouse opened fire in 2020 during protests over the police killing of a black man; also recalled the death of George Floyd in 2020, after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck and back for more than nine minutes – in a position similar to that used by Officer Guetschow on the young student.

The girl’s father, speaking to reporters after the incident, said he “didn’t see the video until much later that night.

“I had already grounded my daughter for the fight,” said Jerrel Perrez. “She kept telling me her neck hurt, but I thought she was just trying to escape punishment. When I saw that video of a grown man holding her like that, I felt guilty and helpless.”

He told CNN in March: “Looking at that photo, it destroyed me.

“All it takes is a little, especially for a 12-year-old girl. We have seen a grown man die in this same situation, imagine the fragile neck of a 12 year old.”

Kenosha Police Chief Eric Larsen asked the FBI to investigate the case, spokesman Lt. Joseph Nosalik said last month.

“Because of the visual similarities to George Floyd, he decided that the credibility and integrity of our department was paramount,” Lt. Nosalik told WISN. “He wanted an outside agency to look into the incident in its entirety.”

The family plans to sue the officer, who resigned as a security guard at the school but remains on the Kenosha force, according to DeVinney — in addition to suing the police chief and the school district.

“No criminal charges have been filed against Officer Guetschow, who we understand remains employed with the Kenosha Police Department,” DeVinney wrote in part of the complaint notice, CNN reported.

The lawyer did not respond immediately The Independentof the comment request.

“The difference between how an adult with a badge and a child with black skin is being treated should offend everyone’s sense of morality, ethics and justice,” DeVinney continued later. “She is a victim of police brutality and now, in what appears to be a concerted effort to silence her with baseless accusations. The absence of responsibility for a grown man who smothered this child is astounding.”

According to paperwork seen by local station TMJ4, when filing a police report, Officer Guetschow did not check a box confirming that he “did not put pressure or weight on the student’s neck or throat, on an artery, or that it obstructed the circulation of the patient.” student. or breath.”

A Kenosha Unified School District attorney, in a written statement to CNN, said: “The allegations within the Notice of Claim are unfounded. The Kenosha Unified School District will vigorously defend itself and its staff in the event that litigation is initiated over this matter.”

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