NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – Six North Charleston High School students were arrested Thursday for racially motivated attacks on a school bus driver, fellow students, and police who responded to the scene.
North Charleston Police Department officials contend several students charged at them and ripped off body-worn cameras before they managed to subdue the teens.
Police responded the intersection of Dobson Street and Remount Road around 4 p.m. Thursday after a student kicked the 34-year-old white female bus driver while others cursed her out and demanded a “black bus driver,” the Post and Courier reports.
Other students were rough-housing during the commute by attacking passengers and pulling down their pants, the driver told police.
An officer requested identification from one of the instigators and the student was “tensing, pulling and pushing me,” the officer wrote in the police report.
“I attempted to deliver several knee strikes, which had no apparent effect,” the officer wrote.
A video of the altercation shows another student grab the officer during the struggle as the first student continued “violently resisting,” according to the report.
Eventually officers subdued the student outside of the bus, where a female student also got into the action.
The girl “charged” and “shoved” an officer before he pushed her away and drew his Taser, which quickly changed her attitude, according to the news site.
The officers eventually arrested four 16-year-olds – three boys and a girl – as well as two 15-year-old boys, and charged them all with interfering with the operation of a school bus. Three of them were also charged with assault on a law enforcement officer while resisting arrest, WCSC reports.
Area business owner Denise Williams wrote on Facebook that she attempted to intervene in the situation before police arrived and the students were “disruptive and disrespectful.”
“They thought this was funny,” she wrote.
One officer was injured in the melee and taken to the hospital for x-rays.
Police say body-worn camera and in-car camera footage was reviewed and it was later determined one officer’s body camera malfunctioned. The report states that at some point while on the bus, the officer’s camera was taken or fell off and was later thrown out the window of the bus by an unidentified person. The officer was shown on camera picking it up from the sidewalk and putting it back on, the report states.
The school district received a request for a copy of footage from the on-bus camera as well, the report states.
Local Black Lives Matter activists are now attempting to use video footage from the incident – without the audio – to rally against North Charleston Police and “let the youth know we will stand up for them against this kind of police terror,” according to the group’s Facebook page.
“North Charleston Police Department in action abusing our children,” a post read. “meanwhile one of these terrorized youth is being held captive at Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center. …
“RELEASE THE CHILD AND FIRE THE POLICE OFFICERS,” the group demanded.
Black Lives Matter – Charleston is now calling on its followers to descend on city hall and North Charleston High School to demand justice for the unruly students.