10 arrested in student protests at Tolman High School

By News Staff

Reporting by Kirsten Glavin


Riots erupted at Tolman High School Thursday morning in Pawtucket following a viral video on social media.

The cell phone video shows a resource officer handcuffing a 17-year-old student, pinning him to the ground, before grabbing the teen’s 14-year-old brother and throwing him to the ground.

"The school resource officer did that for show, and he wanted to get his point across that he’s big, bad, and tough… when in reality, he did not have to do that and hurt him," says Tolman student, Jose Morales.

Contrary to what students say, police claim the students were attacking the officer.

The incident captured on camera sparked an uproar by fellow students, as hundreds lined the streets in protest, which quickly turned violent. Windows were broken and students were pepper sprayed, leading to the arrest of eight juveniles and two adults.

Pawtucket Mayor, Donald Grebien, says the video looks somewhat concerning, but says there is more to the incident than what the video shows. He is now encouraging protest organizers to go to city hall and discuss the situation, though the situation resulted in more violence.

"A few of the students from the protest followed us to city hall and I guess they smashed a window," said Grebien.

Police say protesters rallied on private property, some spitting and threatening officers, who then resorted to using pepper spray. Parents inside the Pawtucket Police Station say the situation was handled poorly by everyone involved.

Students are still calling for action. "We want the officer fired, and we want our voices to be heard and until we get it, we’re not going to stop, honestly," says Tolman student, Rayleen Orellana.

Police are still investigating the video and events during the protest.

© WLNE-TV 2015