Bodycam footage shows teen's arrest at Blanche Ely High School

Broward County sheriff says deputy acted appropriately

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Neki Mohan - Anchor/Reporter

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. - The Broward Sheriff's Office released body camera footage Monday that shows the arrest of a 17-year-old student at Blanche Ely High School earlier this year.

Jordan Bennett's parents hired a civil rights attorney following the Feb. 21 incident and claim the deputy used excessive force.

"Jordan left school that day in an ambulance instead of a school bus," attorney Jasmine Rand said in a statement. "He went home that evening with stitches and now has a permanent scar on his forehead."

Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony, however, says he stands behind his deputy. 

"The allegations that were made today by Mr. Bennett's attorney are not consistent and they're not accurate with what video footage shows what the deputy's actions were and what's articulated in the report," Tony said last week during a news conference.

The body camera footage shows the deputy walking behind Jordan as they enter the school's cafeteria.

The deputy is seen in the video trying to get Jordan's hands behind his back, but Jordan is repeatedly heard telling the deputy to let him go, saying that he's fine.

Jordan appears to pull his hands away from the deputy several times as he is being walked through the cafeteria before the deputy is seen taking him to the floor.

Cellphone video shows another angle of the takedown that appears to show the deputy having Jordan in a chokehold as they are on the floor of the cafeteria.

A second video taken from the body camera shows the deputy escorting Jordan in handcuffs to an office at the high school a short time later, where an employee determines Jordan needs medical attention for a large cut on his head.

Jordan's parents had said their son had been involved in a verbal dispute with another student when the deputy decided he needed to slam Jordan's head on the floor. They said they don't believe the chokehold or the physical violence was necessary. 

"Just sitting there, seeing my son's face all bloody, big gash on his head," Debbie Russell-Bennett recalled during a news conference. "You know, wondering if he had a concussion or anything like that. It was a scary moment."

Tony said he wanted to address the public to be sure they have as much accurate information as possible and added that his message will not change.

"If my deputies step out of line and they violate policies and protocols, if they breach and use any form of excessive force, they will be held accountable," Tony said. "But when they are right, I will also stand here and tell you that."

Jordan is not facing charges in the incident. 

Copyright 2019 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.