An angry father from Chicago has filed a federal lawsuit after police officers dragged his 16-year-old daughter down a flight of stairs at Marshall High School. The incident occurred on January 29 when Dnigma Howard refused to put her phone away during class.
Officials called a school resource officer to escort her out of class, but the situation spiraled out of control. Surveillance video shows Howard and a female officer tumbling down a flight of stairs while footage from a different camera shows another officer dragging the 16-year-old by the leg down the stairs.
Once Howard was at the bottom of the stairs, one of the officers held her down with his foot while another officer started punching her. As Howard was on the ground defending herself, the officers used a taser on her three times.
Dnigma's father, Laurentio Howard, who had been called the school to pick her up, witnessed the tail end of the confrontation.
"I thought maybe they were going to try to choke her out or she would lose consciousness or something like that. They had their foot on her chest. She has asthma, she's telling me she can't breathe. She's turning red, I see a vein sticking out her head," Laurentio told ABC Chicago.
Howard was taken to the hospital and was initially charged with two felonies for aggravated assault against a peace officer. Those charges were later dropped, and the two officers at the school were reassigned.
Howard wants justice for his daughter and blames the administration at the school for allowing a minor incident to spiral out of control.
“This case is about failed leadership at the Chicago Public Schools system. It’s about failed leadership at Marshall High School,” he said.