A Wisconsin police officer has resigned from his off-duty school security position after a surveillance video showed him kneeling on a 12-year-old girl’s neck while restraining her during a lunchroom fight.
Kenosha Officer Shawn Guetschow was moonlighting for the Kenosha Unified School District when he was seen on the video attempting to break up the March 4 fight at Lincoln Middle School by pinning the girl to the floor.
“This mirrored the same maneuver that Derek Chauvin used to murder George Floyd,” attorney Drew DeVinney, who represents the child and her father Jerrel Perez, said at a news conference last week. “The officer continued to push his knee into Perez’s daughter’s neck as she told him she couldn’t breathe.”
Police in Wisconsin last year were banned from using chokeholds, except in life or death situations, following Floyd’s 2020 killing at the hands of Minneapolis police.
Guetschow resigned from the part-time school security position on Tuesday. An email announcing his decision, shared by the district, cited “mental and emotional strain” on his family and a “lack of communication and or support” from the district.
“As it appears that this incident may lead to litigation, the district will provide no further details at this time,” a district spokesperson told HuffPost.
DeVinney said he plans to file a lawsuit against Guetschow, the Kenosha Police Department and the Kenosha Unified School District. He said the restraint left the sixth-grade girl with neck injuries that require therapy and a neurological evaluation.
Perez said his daughter is “traumatized” and embarrassed.
“Every day I got to hear ‘Daddy I don’t want to go to school.’ It breaks me because I was not there to help her,” Perez said. “As a father I feel like I let her down because I couldn’t help her. I want to see this officer get charged because if it was me, or another parent or any adult that put their knee on a kid, that would be abuse. Why would that make you any different?”
Perez added that his 6-year-old son has since told him that he doesn’t want to be a police officer anymore. “And that hurts me,” he said.
DeVinney said the fight started because the girl was being bullied by a classmate.
Kenosha is where a different police officer shot 29-year-old Jacob Blake seven times in August 2020, paralyzing him from the waist down. That cop wasn’t charged in the shooting, which sparked nationwide protests.