Students Tased to break up Sarasota High fight

Students Tased to break up Sarasota High fight (Image 1)

Video of a cafeteria brawl – and a resource officer Tasing a student – at Sarasota High School has been posted online.

The video, shot during a lunch period Wednesday, shows several students fighting. Administrators are seen trying to break the fight up, becoming pinned underneath two fighting students. As the officers tried to break up the fight, a second fight broke out with two different students, a 16-year-old juvenile and 18-year-old Pedro Alarcon.

As the 16-year-old tried to run away, the school resource officer, Officer Sheldon Cantrell, who is a contracted Sarasota Police Officer, pulls out his Taser hitting the student’s backpack. Police say that student was then taken to the ground by the officer and restrained.

Police say Alarcon then resisted another security guard trying to restrain him, and was also refusing to stop fighting. Alarcon was then Tased by Officer Cantrell on the left side of his back in order to gain control of him.

Both of those students are facing charges. The 16-year-old is charged with battery. Alarcon is charged with obstruction resisting without violence.  The first two students fighting are facing discipline from the school district.

“If the officer cannot stop them then it’s good to use the Taser rather than hurting each other more,” one parent, Mers Callen, said.

“The situation required it. I think so,” another parent, Ricardo, Gimon said.

Using the Taser isn’t excessive force as long as it’s not used indiscriminately, parent Will Williams said.

“I think, considering the size, aggressiveness and demeanor of children now a days, I don’t know that it would be responsible for a deputy or an officer to put himself in the position that he himself could get hurt breaking up a children’s fight,” Williams said. “There is a progression of force that law enforcement should use. If they reach that level then it would be justified.”

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