HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A mistrial has been declared in the case of a Long Island woman accused of attacking her daughter’s teacher.
Nassau County prosecutors said Annika McKenzie choked and knocked Catherine Lang-Engelhardt unconscious at Alverta B. Gray Schultz Middle School in Hempstead.
“We thank the jury for their hard work and time. This defendant is facing serious charges and prosecutors are committed to retrying the case,” Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement.
Surveillance video showed the seventh-grade math teacher allegedly being put in a headlock and slammed to the ground.
McKenzie claimed she was just defending her daughter.
“The teacher fell to the ground. The teacher was put in a choke hold, lost consciousness for a few minutes,” Elias Mestizo, president of the Hempstead Classroom Teachers’ Association, told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan last month.
McKenzie’s defense attorney said Lang-Engelhardt pushed her first.
McKenzie’s 12-year-old daughter allegedly told her mom that she was being hassled by her teacher, who confiscated her lacrosse stick, and wrote her up for cursing when the girl refused to show a hall pass.
“We are doing everything possible to ensure a safe environment for students and staff,” Lamont Johnson, of the Hempstead School Board, said.
During testimony, the teacher told the jury she was quickly surrounded, scared and couldn’t breathe. She said when she came-to, she was dizzy, had blurred vision and had to be hospitalized.
McKenzie faced up to seven years in prison for felony assault.