Wednesday, October 10, 2012
A Georgetown High School resource officer says he was forced to use his Taser on an 18-year-old student last month.
However, the student’s mother — Natalie Lambert — says unnecessary force was used on her son because he is gay, an accusation denied by both the school district and Georgetown police.
Treyshawn Devonte Lambert, a junior, has several scars on his back that he and his mother say are the result of the Taser being used during the Sept. 18 incident.
According to the police report, GHS Principal Craig Evans asked Officer James Burroughs to escort Lambert to the SRO office because Lambert was being “defiant” and was failing to follow instructions.
“Once in my office, Mr. Lambert continued to not follow instructions,” Burroughs wrote in his report. “At this point, Mr. Lambert became very hostile and upset. Mr. Lambert was ask(ed) to refrain from using profanity as well as to sit down.”
Burroughs states Lambert responded by saying he did not care and refused to take a seat.
“I attempted to place Mr. Lambert under arrest for disturbing school. As I grabbed (his) left arm, (he) pulled away/resisted and a fight ensued,” Burroughs wrote. “During the struggle, I was able to grab my Taser and drive stun the subject to gain control.”
Lambert was then placed in handcuffs and was taken to jail, the report concludes.
The incident report does not give details about the “fight” that took place between Burroughs and Lambert. On Wednesday, Police Capt. Nelson Brown said the two were “rolling around on the floor” during the struggle.
He also said other school administrators had to help Burroughs get Lambert’s hands out of his pockets.
It was later discovered Lambert had a container of pepper spray in his pocket, the report states.
In a written but unsigned statement provided to the Georgetown Times, Lambert agrees Burroughs asked him to sit down.
“When I did not move quick enough for him, he pushed my chest to force me into the chair. I said ‘don’t touch me, I didn’t touch you,’” Lambert wrote, adding Burroughs then pushed him again and slammed him on a desk.
He said Burroughs “Tased me again and again while I was hollering.”
“He told me to put my hands behind my back and before I could get them there, he Tased me again,” he wrote.
Lambert says the door was open and at least three staff members could see what was happening.
He said one female staff member walked in the room crying and asked what was going on. When no one answered, she left, Lambert states.
Lambert also claims while the incident was taking place, he heard someone say “we got him now.”
Natalie Lambert says her son has been picked on almost daily because of his sexual preference. She said she has been in contact with gay rights advocacy groups about the incident.
On his Facebook page, Lambert wrote “I have been singled out because I am biracial and gay.”
Brown said the response by Burroughs had nothing to do with Lambert’s sexual preference.
He also said no one has filed a formal complaint at the police department about the situation.
School District spokesman Ray White said the matter has been investigated internally and it has been “determined that the matter was handled appropriately in accordance with District policy and in keeping with the role and responsibilities of School Resource Officers. The District will continue to work cooperatively with law enforcement in order to make our campuses safe and secure for all students and staff.”
By Scott Harper