School releases video showing knee-on-neck restraint

The Kenosha police officer seen on surveillance and cellphone videos pinning a 12-year-old student to the floor with his knee on the girl’s neck chided the school district for not supporting him and failing to communicate after the incident garnered widespread criticism of the method he used to restrain the student, according to the officer’s notice of resignation.The rebuke of Kenosha Unified School District from Officer Shawn Guetschow is contained in a two-sentence email sent to Superintendent Dr. Bethany Ormseth. the escalated attention this incident at Lincoln Middle School has caused in the community, mental and emotional strain it has bought upon my family, and the lack of communication and or support I have received from the district, I can no longer continue my employment with the Kenosha Unified School District,” Guetschow wrote on March 15 adding his resignation was effective immediately. District officials shared the resignation ema il the same day they released surveillance video from the middle school cafeteria. In the blurry video, two people can be seen fighting one another before Guetschow, who was working at the school in the role of security officer, is seen trying to break up the fight. After pulling one student wearing all black away and to the floor, Guetschow, 37, is then seen wrestling someone in a hooded sweatshirt to the floor as well. The angle of what happens is initially blocked by fellow students. Approximately 94 seconds into the video, Guetschow is seen with his knee on the girl’s neck. Guetschow’s knee stays on the girl’s neck for approximately 22 seconds. District officials said they released the video because the internal personnel investigation into the incident had been concluded. Officials declined to comment on the incident, citing the expected filing of civil litigation.”She’s humiliated. She’s traumatized. Every day, I’ve got to hear, ‘Daddy, I don’t want to go to school.’ It breaks me because I wasn’t there to help her. I felt helpless,” the girl’s father, Jerel Perez, said on March 16. Perez said his daughter was arrested and was back home recovering from a sprained neck and head injury. an emailed statement Friday, Kenosha police Lt. Joseph Nosalik said a charge of disorderly conduct was referred to juvenile court for both students who were fighting. Nosalik, the department’s public information officer, said the department was aware of the release of the cafeteria video and Guetschow’s resignation from his security job with the district. Nosalik said Guetschow is still employed with Kenosha police. Cellphone videos showed a different vantage point of the incident and sparked the initial outrage on social media platforms and gained nationwide attention.The videos have drawn comparisons to the 2020 in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.”KPD has watched the video clip and has seen the photo which has been widely shared on social media over the weekend. We are keenly aware of the significant sensitivity surrounding the photo. KPD, together with KUSD is investigating the incident in its entirety while being cautious not to make conclusions based off of a small piece of information shared on social media ,” police said in its initial March 7 statement. The family’s attorney, Drew DeVinney said a lawsuit against police and the school district is expected.

The Kenosha police officer seen on surveillance and cellphone videos pinning a 12-year-old student to the floor with his knee on the girl’s neck chided the school district for not supporting him and failing to communicate after the incident garnered widespread criticism of the method he used to restrain the student, according to the officer’s notice of resignation.

The rebuke of Kenosha Unified School District from Officer Shawn Guetschow is contained in a two-sentence email sent to Superintendent Dr. Bethany Ormseth.

“Given the events that have taken place and the escalated attention this incident at Lincoln Middle School has caused in the community, mental and emotional strain it has bought [sp.] upon my family, and the lack of communication and or support I have received from the district, I can no longer continue my employment with the Kenosha Unified School District,” Guetschow wrote on March 15 adding his resignation was effective immediately.

Shawn Guetschow's Resignation Email

Kenosha Unified School District

Shawn Guetschow’s resignation email

District officials shared the resignation email the same day they released surveillance video from the middle school cafeteria.

In the blurry video, two people can be seen fighting one another before Guetschow, who was working at the school in the role of security officer, is seen trying to break up the fight.

After pulling one student wearing all black away and to the floor, Guetschow, 37, is then seen wrestling someone in a hooded sweatshirt to the floor as well. The angle of what happens is initially blocked by fellow students.

Approximately 94 seconds into the video, Guetschow is seen with his knee on the girl’s neck. Guetschow’s knee stays on the girl’s neck for approximately 22 seconds.

Once Guetschow lifts his neck from the student’s neck, he rolls her to a seated position then stands her up to escort her out of the camera’s view as her hands are restrained behind her back.

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District officials said they released the video because the internal personnel investigation into the incident had been concluded. Officials declined to comment on the incident, citing the expected filing of civil litigation.

“She’s humiliated. She’s traumatized. Every day, I’ve got to hear, ‘Daddy, I don’t want to go to school.’ It breaks me because I wasn’t there to help her. I felt helpless,” the girl’s father, Jerel Perez, said on March 16.

Perez said his daughter was arrested and was back home recovering from a sprained neck and head injury.

In an emailed statement Friday, Kenosha police Lt. Joseph Nosalik said a charge of disorderly conduct was referred to juvenile court for both students who were fighting. Nosalik, the department’s public information officer, said the department was aware of the release of the cafeteria video and Guetschow’s resignation from his security job with the district.

Nosalik said Guetschow is still employed with Kenosha police.

Cellphone videos showed a different vantage point of the incident and sparked the initial outrage on social media platforms and gained nationwide attention.

The videos have drawn comparisons to the 2020 in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“KPD has watched the video clip and has seen the photo which has been widely shared on social media over the weekend. We are keenly aware of the significant sensitivity surrounding the photo. KPD, together with KUSD is investigating the incident in its entirety while being cautious not to make conclusions based off of a small piece of information shared on social media,” police said in its initial March 7 statement.

The family’s attorney, Drew DeVinney said a lawsuit against police and the school district is expected.

A search of court records did not show the district listed as a defendant in any lawsuits filed in state or federal court in connection to the incident.

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