CHICAGO — Prosecutors on Wednesday dropped all charges against a 16-year-old girl seen on video in a confrontation with Chicago police at Marshall High School.
Police said Dnigma Howard became combative when they were trying to escort her out of the school, and ended up tumbling down the stairs and using a Taser on her.
Howard was charged with two felony counts of aggravated battery and was accused of kicking, biting and spitting on two police officers stationed at the school, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The newspaper reported that the officers were trying to remove her from the high school after she was suspended on Jan. 29.
However, Howard said she was being pushed toward the stairs and was defending herself. Video of the incident was recorded by another student.
Howard was initially removed from class for pulling out her cellphone, but her family said the situation should never have escalated. She had an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to help manage her behavior, but they said the plan was not followed.
“She should have been allowed to contact her counselor or case manager to calm the situation down,” her father, Laurentio Howard, said.
The case has reignited debate over the role of police officers in schools.
On Wednesday, the Fraternal Order of Police president called the state’s attorney’s decision to drop the charges very disturbing.
“They did everything they could to protect her from being hurt and they used the Taser because she seriously injured those two officers and she needs to be recharged,” Kevin Graham, FOP president, said.
Chicago police said the officers are currently on medical leave and will be reassigned while the Civilian Office of Police Accountability and the CPD Force Review Unit investigate.
CPS is also asking the inspector general to investigate, and said in a statement, “This disturbing incident has absolutely no place in our schools.”