A Farmington Police Department school resource officer has been forced to resign after he was captured on video using excessive force to restrain an 11-year-old Black middle school student.
Zach Christensen resigned from the department at the beginning of the month after investigations into an Aug. 27 incident at Mesa View Middle School determined he violated Farmington police policies for use of force and unsatisfactory performance, Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe told The Daily Times.
"As the chief, it's a brutal failure," Hebbe said. "It's a failure on our agency, and I can't tell you how upsetting it is to me."
The six-minute clip of the incident was captured on Christensen's body camera and showed him viciously tacking her to the ground after she was reportedly disruptive.
The Farmington Municipal School District has said that it would not discuss details of this incident, out of "respect for student privacy, and to comply with student privacy laws."
"Farmington Municipal Schools extends its apologies to the student and family involved in this unfortunate incident," the district said in a statement. "FMS administration is reviewing this incident with the intent of putting into place procedures and practices to prevent another instance like this. The safety of all students entrusted to our care is among our highest priorities. We are committed to continuing our efforts in that endeavor."
During the incident, Christensen believed the student possibly committed two instances of battery. In the footage, Christensen is seen slamming the student into a window as the student fought back. The student can be heard telling him to leave her alone and asked to be sent home to her mother.
"It's unacceptable. It isn't within our policies. It isn't within our training," Hebbe said. "What we want officers to do is calm situations, and I think when we watch the video, that isn't what happened."
"For the most part, we don't want (officers) to have physical contact with these kids," Hebbe said. "But, under some circumstances, that you have to be able to articulate, you would be allowed to."