Sheriff’s Office Leaves Decision to Criminally Charge Deputy Who Slammed Black Girl to Concrete to Florida Department of Law Enforcement


An Osceola County Sheriff’s deputy is on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into a video that shows the deputy body-slamming to the ground at Liberty High School in Kissimmee, Florida.

Sheriff Marco López told reporters Wednesday that the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office is turning its investigation into the viral video over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The video, shared widely on social media, shows deputy Ethan Fournier body slam a female high school student into the concrete before placing her in handcuffs. The blow appeared to knock her unconscious. Paramedics were called, and López said “the juvenile is fine,” after speaking with the family. The name of the student has not been released because she is a minor. A spokesperson for the department would not say if the minor faces any charges.

The FDLE investigation will determine whether Fournier will face criminal charges.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating after a deputy body-slammed a high school student to the ground. Photo: @LouluNevy/Twitter

“We remove this burden off us and pass it on to a higher authority to ensure that no one can say that we’re looking out for our own,” López said during a brief press conference, as reported by the Orlando Sentinel. “It’s the right step to go.”

It’s not clear if a second deputy on the scene, Gerardo Pabón, is also being investigated.

The sheriff’s office first learned about the video on Tuesday from Liberty High School officials. The office said Fournier, a school resource officer, was trying to stop the student from fighting another student in between classes.

Osceola County authorities are collecting witness statements to figure out what happened.

López said Fournier is innocent until proven guilty, and added that the deputy had received death threats since news of the incident spread.

Central Florida Jobs with Justice, a social advocacy group, released a statement about the incident and called for the deputies involved to be removed and for the case to be thoroughly investigated.

“We call on Osceola Schools to immediately remove any officers involved in this incident and prohibit them from serving as SROs in the future and for the Osceola County School Board to begin an immediate investigation into the conduct of all SROs contracted with the district and relieve any with a history of violence or complaints from duty,” the statement said.

Fournier is also a flag football coach at the school, and he has been removed from coaching duties pending the investigation. A petition calling for Fournier to be fired has received nearly 1,000 signatures.

Atlanta Black Star


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