A school resource officer was fired and charged with three misdemeanor counts after he was seen in a video slamming an 11-year-old student to the ground.
Warren Durham has been charged with assault on a child under 12, child abuse, and willful failure to discharge his duties.
District Attorney Mike Waters acknowledged Tuesday that the child's family was "disappointed and frustrated" that Durham had not been charged with a felony.
He said that since the child did not suffer any "serious bodily injuries" from the incident, misdemeanor charges were the most severe charges possible under North Carolina law.
The North Carolina school resource officer seen in a viral video slamming an 11-year-old student to the ground has been charged with three misdemeanor counts, a local prosecutor announced Tuesday.
Vance County District Attorney Mike Waters said the officer, Warren Durham, has been charged with assault on a child under 12, child abuse, and willful failure to discharge his duties.
The incident occurred on December 12 at the Vance County Middle School and was captured by school surveillance cameras. The footage shows the child walking beside Durham before he abruptly grabs the child, lifts him, and then throws him to the ground.
Durham can be seen lifting the child again, throwing him to the ground a second time, then dragging him down the rest of the hallway.
Durham was fired from the Vance County Sheriff's Office on Monday.
Waters told reporters at a press conference Tuesday that the student reported the incident to school administrators, who notified the sheriff's office. Officers then reviewed the video and contacted Waters' office and North Carolina's State Bureau of Investigations.
Waters acknowledged Tuesday that the child's family was "disappointed and frustrated" that Durham had not been charged with a felony. But he said that since the child did not suffer any "serious bodily injuries" from the incident, misdemeanor charges were the most severe charges possible.
"He did not sustain any serious bodily injuries — any broken bones, broken teeth, fractures, or any concussion that has at this point been diagnosed," Waters said. "Therefore under North Carolina law, the school resource officer in that video cannot be charged with a felony."
Waters added that he didn't know what events led up to the altercation, but that he believed the information would be "not relevant."
"I don't think that there's any justification for it, I don't see any justification in the law," he said. "It's just not relevant to my determination of whether that was an appropriate use of force. I don't think that any kind of training or anything like that would lead someone to act in that way with an 11-year-old."
The child's grandfather, John Miles, told reporters at a press conference that he at least felt reassured by Waters' promise that Durham will not return to a law enforcement role in the area.
"This guy will never, ever be in law enforcement again. So I'm grateful to that right there. That he will never ever wear another badge and attack another child," Miles said.
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