The Florida Department of Law Enforcement launched an investigation in January after a video went viral showing Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputy Ethan Fournier, a school resource officer at Liberty High School in Kissimmee, body-slamming Taylor Bracey on January 26.
The findings of the four-month investigation were turned over to Orange-Osceola State Attorney Monique Worrell in May to determine if Fournier should face any charges.
Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputy Ethan Fournier will not face any charges for body-slamming 16-year-old Taylor Bracey at school in January, as seen in viral video left and right
During a news conference on Tuesday, Worrell announced that Fournier, who has worked for the sheriff’s office for a decade, acted within the bounds of Florida’s use of force statutes, reported
‘After a thorough review of the evidence, and the applicable law in this matter (the independent review) team has concluded that officer Fournier’s use of force did not violate any laws of the state of Florida,’ she said. ‘As such, there will be no criminal charges filed in this matter.’
In clearing Fournier of wrongdoing, Worrell said she was ‘angry’ after watching the video and called for school resource officers (SROs) to be trained to better respond to situations involving children, reported
Worrell also advocated for spending money on body cameras for SROs and mental health resources for students in crisis.
‘Every SRO should be required to go through crisis intervention training,” Worrell added. ‘There are now more police officers working in our schools than school nurses. The number of police officers in schools is more than double the number of social workers and psychologists.’
Fournier had been on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. He had no previous record of misconduct, other than minor property damage.
Officials said Fournier was trying to stop Bracey from fighting with another student.
Fournier (left), a 10-year veteran, was working as a school resource officer and was trying to stop a fight between Taylor (left) and another student
Orange-Osceola State Attorney Monique Worrell announced at a press conference on Tuesday that Fournier acted within the bounds of Florida’s use of force statutes
Footage shows Bracey’s head hit a concrete walkway with an audible thud and she appears to lose consciousness.
Fournier then pulls the girl’s hands behind her back and placed her in handcuffs. Other students watching the incident cry out in shock.
‘The student was not complying with lawful commands,’ Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez said at the time.
Lopez previously said neither the student nor the sheriff had any serious injuries and were ‘fine.’
However, the teen’s mother, Jamesha Bracey, told media outlets within days of the incident that her daughter was suffering from memory loss, headaches, blurry vision and sleep deprivation after the incident.
Jamesha Bracey, pictured in January flanked by civil rights attorney Ben Crump, said her daughter suffered from memory loss and headaches
There was no update on the girl’s condition Tuesday.
Renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represented the family, called the incident ‘mind-boggling,’ according to
‘He’s supposed to be trained,’ Crump said of Fournier in January. ‘It’s foreseeable that children may get in altercations at school. You’re not supposed to knock them unconscious. You’re supposed to be the person who knows how to de-escalate the situation.’
The mom contended that if her daughter were white, like Fournier, this would not have happened to her.