Arkansas student says school resource officer choked her during arrest attempt

State News

BRINKLEY, Ark. – A local high school student hasn’t been in class for nearly a week.

She says she’s scared to go back to school after a resource officer slammed her against a wall and choked her.

Fox 13 in Memphis shares this story and video.

A’kayla Johnson says she felt violated when she was pulled out of class by the officer, who then tried to handcuff her.

“I couldn’t breathe while he was choking me. He put me against the wall and put this hand in handcuffs,” she explains.

In a video recording of the incident, the officer is seen putting his knee into the girl’s back as he tries to restrain her.

“Ma’am give me your hand. It’s called resisting, you’re going to jail,” he was heard saying. “I’m not going to jail because I didn’t do nothing,” Johnson responded to him.

Johnson says it all started in band class at Brinkley High School.

She has early dismissal but no ride home, so she usually helps out.

Johnson says for some reason the substitute teacher didn’t understand, so the officer was called.

“He said ‘don’t make me have to embarrass you in front of everybody’ and I just kept writing on my paper and that’s when he tried to snatch me and choked me,” Johnson continues.

Brinkley Police told Fox 13 News the officer is Bobby Burnett, a former chief with Cotton Plant Police who was fired from that previous job.

A phone call to Burnett by Fox 13 went unanswered.

As Johnson looks at the video, all she wants is for the officer to be punished.

“I feel like he should apologize because it wasn’t that serious and I really don’t have anything else to say to him,” she says.

It’s not clear why the officer was called to the classroom. The substitute teacher says that is confusing her too.

The school says it is still investigating what happened.

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