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Florida teen body-slammed by school resource officer ‘traumatized,’ family says

A Florida teenager seen in a viral video this week being body-slammed by a school resource officer has been “traumatized” by the incident, her family said.

Taylor Bracey, 16, a student at Liberty High School in Kissimmee, is suffering from memory loss, headaches, blurry vision and sleep deprivation, her mother told reporters at a press briefing Saturday.

Ben Crump Law
Taylor Bracey, 16, a student at Liberty High School in Kissimmee, Fla., was thrown to the ground by a school resource officer in a video that went viral.

“She’s depressed, I’m depressed. We all are traumatized about what happened,” Jamesha Bracey said outside the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, which employs Deputy Ethan Fournier, the school resource officer involved in the incident. “I think, if this was a white girl, would this have happened to the white child?”

Facebook via WFTV
Jamesha Bracey, mother of Taylor Bracey, during a press briefing, Jan. 30, 2021.

According to civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the family, Taylor was knocked unconscious during the incident and suffered a concussion.

“He’s supposed to be trained,” he said. “It’s foreseeable that children may get in altercations at school. You’re not supposed to knock them unconscious. You’re supposed to be the person who knows how to de-escalate the situation. It’s just mind-boggling.”

“This is the adultification of Black children — that our children are seen as adults,” he added. “No, no, this was a child.”

The incident occurred on Tuesday in the school’s hallway, as Fournier was attempting to break up a fight between Taylor and another student, according to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.

“The student was not complying with lawful commands,” Sheriff Marcos Lopez said during a press briefing Wednesday.

On the day of the incident, Jamesha Bracey said her daughter told her there were “some girls wanted to jump her after school.”

Police are reviewing a Jan. 26, 2021 video that shows a school resource officer slamming a student to the ground in Osceola County, Fla.

In video of the incident, after Taylor’s head audibly hits the concrete floor, Fournier can then be seen handcuffing her while students look on.

According to Crump, Fournier did not render aid. Taylor received medical attention at the scene, Lopez said.

The sheriff’s office handed a criminal investigation of the deputy over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement “to make sure that this is completely independent of our agency,” Lopez said. “We want to make sure it’s a complete, thorough investigation without my influence in this case.”

Fournier has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. He does not have a history of misconduct other than minor property damage, Lopez said.

Fournier also was the girls’ flag football coach at Liberty High and will not be coaching, pending the outcome of the investigation, the Osceola School District confirmed to ABC News.

“It has been a difficult week for Liberty High students and staff,” Osceola School District spokesperson Dana Schafer said in a statement to ABC News. “The entire staff and administration of Liberty High School remain committed to ensuring that we have a safe and positive learning environment for all students.”

The school district is cooperating with the investigation, she said.

School resource officers are not school district employees but rather employed through their law enforcement agency, she added.

Community leaders who joined Taylor’s family Saturday called to repeal a Florida law requiring at least one school resource officer at each school in the state.

They also called for Fournier to be fired and not work as a school resource officer elsewhere in the future, and for the investigation to be led by a community task force, not law enforcement, among other demands.

Facebook / WFTV
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump holds a press briefing with the family of Taylor Bracey outside the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, Jan. 30, 2021.

Taylor’s parents are weighing sending their daughter back to the school, Crump said.

“That will be a family decision, but think about it — you’re going to send your daughter back to the school that has a school resource officer that was supposed to protect her, but body-slammed her and knocked her unconscious?” he said. “As a parent, how confident do you feel sending your child back to that environment?”


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