COPIAGUE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Police on Long Island are investigating an officer’s use of a Taser on a teen accused of hiding marijuana in his socks.
CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez spoke to a student who recorded the incident on his cellphone.
The video shows a 16-year-old student running out of Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School, apparently trying to get away from a plain clothed Suffolk County police officer. The officer pulls out his Taser and fires at the teen, who drops to the ground.
Senior John Collado recorded the video as school was being dismissed Wednesday afternoon. Other students were rolling on their phones too.
“He walked like five feet outside, turned around and stood there. The officer said, ‘Get down,’ didn’t even give him a second to get down, and Tased him right away,” Collado said.
Police said they smelled marijuana on the student and when they tried to arrest him inside the school, they said he punched an officer and took off.
The video picks up as the teen and the officer run outside. You see the teen turn to face the officer as he’s hit with the Taser.
“The officer again gave verbal command for the suspect to stop. He did not, and the officer deployed his Taser one time,” a Suffolk County police spokesperson said. “There appears to be nothing improper about the use here. It will certainly be reviewed, as any use of force is reviewed, but at this time, it looks that everything was done appropriately.”
“It’s a 16-year-old boy. He was unarmed. I don’t know, if you can’t take him down by yourself, I don’t know why you’re in the line of work,” Collado said.
The teen suspect’s brother and legal guardian was in court for his arraignment but wouldn’t answer CBS2’s questions about the use of force on his unarmed brother.
Copiague school district officials released a statement saying, “As this is a police matter, the district will fully cooperate as needed in their investigation. Following the completion of the legal process, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.”
The suspect is charged with harassment, resisting arrest and criminal possession of marijuana.
He has no prior criminal history and is being held on $3,000 bail.