West Bend police respond to viral video of student, school officer

NOW: West Bend police respond to viral video of student, school officer


WEST BEND, Wis. -- An incident, caught on tape, involving a West Bend high school student and the school resource officer is going viral.

It happened in February, but the student’s mother posted it on Facebook just this week. Hundreds of people have shared it and commented.

Caitlin, a recent West Bend graduate, also started a petition, which has more than 1,400 signatures, demanding more transparency about what happened.

“I’ve never had any problems with the officers, they’ve always been really -- and this is just my experience personally -- but really helpful when I needed,” Caitlin said. “So if this was a one-time situation, I don’t want this one situation to ruin both the student’s trust of the officers and the officer’s credibility in our school.”

According to the school district, it happened during a safety check, when all students were told to immediately go to their classrooms.

In a statement, the school district says it “was part of additional security measures put in place in January 2020 in response to the violence and threats in Wisconsin schools in December 2019.”

Caitlin mentioned those same threats and said for that reason, students have been happy to have officers in the school.

“A lot of students feel a lot safer, especially after this year with our history with threats and everything, having officers at school,” Caitlin said. “But if these situations happen with no clarity on what actually occurred, students and officers are going to have more of a rifted relationship with each other.”

West Bend Police Chief Kenneth Meuler walked CBS 58 Investigates through the video.

“She [the officer] reaches out with one hand to stop this student, the student keeps walking, the officer grabs her by the arm and tries to turn her around,” Chief Meuler said. “As soon as she does this, the student tries to pull away and is struggling to get away from the officer.”

Chief Meuler says the student’s mother filed a complaint, the incident was investigated and it was determined the officer did not violate department policies or procedures.

“If our officer is wrong, I will hold that officer accountable and I’ll be accountable,” Chief Meuler said. “But if the officer doesn’t do something wrong, I’m also not going to let somebody put this out without any context, without any explanation and expect that this officer should be disciplined.”

The scuffle lasts about 20 seconds.

“The officer disengaged and said we’ll go down to the office together and so at that time, the officer takes her hands off, there’s no other force used, the girl is never handcuffed,” Chief Meuler said.

The student did get a municipal citation from obstruction. The case goes to trial later this month.

CBS 58’s attempts to reach the mother of the student were unsuccessful.

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