High School Students Pepper-Sprayed By Cops While Protesting Police Brutality

Black Lives Matter

On Thursday (Oct. 15), 10 people (eight of whom were juveniles) were arrested outside William E. Tolman High School in Pawtucket, Rhode Island during a protest in response to a video of apparent police brutality on campus.

Some people in the crowd, which was made up of about 100 students, were pepper sprayed.

WPRI reports that the day before the protest, video had surfaced of what appears to show “police slamming a teenage student to the floor.” Local police told WPRI that “a school resource officer (SRO) assigned to the school was trying to bring a 14-year-old disorderly student under control,” and that events escalated between the SRO, the student and the student’s 17-year-old brother.

WARNING: Video is graphic.

MTV News spoke to Emily Long, a senior at Tolman High who witnessed the altercation as she was trying to inquire about a college application from the office where the SRO and students were located.

“It was pretty terrifying,” Long said. “You always see stuff like this happening in other places, but to be in your own school — it’s pretty crazy.”

On the morning of Thursday, Oct. 15, a group gathered outside the school in peaceful protest. But when a fire drill rang and students flooded out of the building, things “erupted into chaos,” WPRI reports. Some protesters relocated upon invitation to talk about the video at City Hall, but “police said a couple hundred students remained outside.” Things soon intensified after a student reportedly broke a car window.

“The protest then moved from City Hall to the parking lot of a private business,” WPRI reports. “Police said the protesters were spitting at and threatening police officers, at which point one of the officers discharged pepper spray at several individuals.”

Long said that in wake of the events, the general mood at Tolman High has been “pretty terrifying,” and that some students were afraid to go in today because of violent threats.

“I actually didn’t go to school today as I was hearing on social media that there were gun threats and that people were going to bring weapons and shoot up the school,” she said. “I’d say the mood is pretty terrifying. Overall morale is pretty glum.”

Published by MTV.com