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New Mexico Police Officer Resigns After Body Camera Captured Him Slamming 11-Year-Old Girl To Ground

Farmington Police Department/YouTube

Former school resource officer Zachary Christensen has resigned from the Farmington, New Mexico Police Department aafter his body cam footage revealed he slammed an 11-year-old girl to the ground while nearby school officials demanded he release her.

Christensen confronted the girl—who was accused of being disruptive in class and taking an extra milk at lunch—with school administrators in an apparent attempt to get her to comply with school rules.

When the child pushed past the school principal, Christensen accused her of assault and moved to restrain her. This was likely the source of his later claim, which was found to be untrue during an internal investigation, that she had assaulted the principal before he used force.

Just before taking physical action against the student, Christensen can be heard saying:

“OK, I’ve had enough of this. Take your bag off. You’re done. You are done. … You’re not going to assault the principal.”

When the school administrators who were present repeatedly asked Christensen to allow the girl to stand, he refused. An adult can be heard demanding Christensen not use excessive force to subdue the child.

“We are not going to use excessive force to get this done.”

His response, while the child cried for help, was that he was not being excessive.

The full 1 hour and 17 minute video of the entire interaction between Christensen and the girl was posted on the Farmington Police Department’s YouTube channel.

The unit supervisor who was responsible for overseeing Christensen also failed to identify the incident as unacceptable and a violation of department policies. According to a video put out by the Farmington Police Department, that individual has since been reassigned and is no longer in a supervisory role within the department.

That video also details multiple changes the department is making to ensure that such an incident never happens again. The case has been referred to the New Mexico State Police for a review of possible charges against Christensen.

Near the end of the department’s video, Chief Hebbe comments on the incident and how it made him feel.

“Like many of you, I was shocked and angry when I watched this video. There’s no excuse for the way this girl was treated. As the chief of police I am extremely disappointed that we failed to perform at our expected standards.”

That full video from Police Chief Hebbe can be seen below.

Chief Hebbe told the Farmington Daily Times that the girl suffered a mild concussion, in addition to scrapes and bruises from the incident.

Many folks on social media were upset by the incident.

Some tried to claim that the girl was at fault and should have simply complied, but folks weren’t having any of that.

The department is making efforts to ensure no other children are harmed by their officers, but an incident like this should never have occurred in the first place. An 11-year-old girl being non-compliant with school officials is not sufficient reason for a grown police officer to slam her into a wall and then pin her to the ground.

Many folks felt that someone who reacts this way to a misbehaving child should never have made it through the screening process to become a police officer at all, let alone been assigned as a school resource officer.

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Written by Winona Sioux Christnot-Peters

Winona Sioux Christnot-Peters is a writer/web designer and aspiring librarian based in Northern Maine. When not writing or in class, they devote much of their time to multiple non-profit organizations, largely focusing on LGBTQ+ rights and animal welfare. During rare moments of free time Winona enjoys video and tabletop games, as well as various nerdy fiber crafts such as crocheting (mainly amigurumi Pokémon, cat toys, and blankets) and counted cross stitch.