College of DuPage student Jaclyn Pazera was on campus to hit the books and learn; but in a catastrophic turn of events, she was instead booked into the county jail on charges of trespassing, obstructing and resisting.
Now, she has filed a lawsuit against the Illinois college’s campus police, citing excessive force and civil rights violations. The campus police fall under the jurisdiction of the college. Reports show that Pazera’s wrists and shoulders were injured during her arrest.
In December 2014, Pazera was smoking a cigarette outside her class building, and was approached by campus officers who told her smoking was not allowed on campus. Pazera put her cigarette out and walked in the building to her class.
Officers’ Vallardes and Tamurrino followed Pazera to her class and asked the teacher, “Is this your student?”
The teacher told the officers that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibited disclosure of student identification.
It was then that the officers’ demanded to see Pazera’s student identification, Pazera complied.
Upon Pazera presenting identification in the classroom, Tamurrino placed her under arrest for trespassing. The officer’s flipped over Pazera’s desk and slammed her to the ground.
In obvious pain, Pazera says, “You are hurting me!”
Unbeknownst to the officers’, the professor was video recording the entire incident. However, there was another student video recording the incident, and the officers’ seized that student’s phone – citing it as evidence.
In an interview after the incident, Pazera said, “I had two fully grown men on my back pushing me into the ground, and he said in the video, ‘If you can talk, you can breathe.'”
Pazera also said, “He picked me up and slammed me into the ground harder.”
Pazera has not attended the College of DuPage since her arrest.
College of DuPage spokesman Randall Samborn released the following statement:
“Student safety is of utmost importance to us. Of course, we will investigate to determine the facts and take appropriate action.”
Aggressive behavior by School resource officers are a common problem throughout the nation.
PINAC News reported on the South Carolina officer that went over the top to apprehend a student. That South Carolina officer was eventually fired.
Recently a Florida Duval County school resource officer was suspended for pepper spraying a parent during a conference.
Other incidents involving school resource officers can be found here.