Athens police show media body cam, surveillance footage of high school brawl

Athens police show media body cam, surveillance footage of high school brawl

ATHENS, AL (WAFF) - In a rare move, Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson invited the media to see body cam and surveillance footage from inside Athens High School when students, parents and law enforcement engaged in a brawl-like altercation.

From the left, Gabrielle Kirby, Makaleb Boykin, Amanda Loggins.
From the left, Gabrielle Kirby, Makaleb Boykin, Amanda Loggins. (Source: Athens Police Department)

Three students and one parent were taken into custody. The two adult students, 18-year-old Makaleb Boykin and 18-year-old Gabrielle Kirby, a parent, 39-year-old Amanda Loggins, and a juvenile were charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Although the media was allowed to see the footage, cameras were not allowed inside. Johnson says the video isn’t being released to the public because it shows minors and is evidence in an active investigation.

The two angles provide different perspectives of what played out Wednesday.

It appears to start with police asking Boykin and a number of other students to go back to class or disperse from the main office.

The students were there to talk with Dr. Carter, the schools principal, and their parents about a 20-day suspension they were facing after a disruption in class.

Body cam video shows Boykin going back-and-forth with officers in an expletive laced encounter.

They say Boykin “fidgets,” which knocks off the officers body camera. He is arrested and taken outside where another portion of the video shows what appears to be him trying to run away. As he tries to run, the camera falls with him and his body cam falls off again.

Back inside, the video shows Loggins in the foyer yelling “Black Lives Matter” as she checks her children out. This is a move police believe lured the students to her in the foyer.

With one officer outside, the second officer tries to usher students back inside. He tells Loggins to leave. She insists she was there to pull her children out of school for the day.

At some point, the video shows students pushing that officer from all sides.

This is when chaos breaks out. In the heat of the events, the officers body camera is knocked off.

Johnson says Loggins claims an officer kicked her in the stomach. Though, with the backing of video, Athens PD leadership is saying otherwise. In a tough angle, they place that blame on someone else.

Another contentious moment is when a student says she was knocked unconscious after the officer strikes her. In the school surveillance video, it appears to show the officer doing a move that is taught in training after she pushes him several times. Police suggest her being knocked unconscious came from the fall.

Parents tell WAFF 48 News that their students were unfairly treated. They believe this is all racially motivated.

“We didn’t work this hard to come this far for somebody to tear him down," said Barbara Kirby. Her son was one of five originally suspended.

On Thursday, a peaceful protest was held at the square in downtown Athens.

Local NAACP leadership were on hand. They say the purpose was to demand answers they feel they haven’t gotten.

“My child is trying to go to college; trying to make something of himself," said Kirby. “I feel like his rights were violated yesterday.”

Kirby believes all of this could have been avoided if the principal did not pass down a ‘harsh’ punishment. “He triggered all of these actions to take place.”

They are calling for an immediate change in leadership.

Johnson says the officer involved will return to work Friday, but not at Athens High School.

Johnson adds the video may eventually be shown to parents, those involved and maybe the entire community. His immediate hesitation is that juveniles are in the video and it’s part of an active investigation.

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