Mon, Aug 01, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Court rules for school, officer in teen’s burp arrest


A US federal appeals court has upheld the petty misdemeanor arrest of an Albuquerque, New Mexico, student accused of repeatedly disrupting his middle-school class with loud burps.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision on Monday last week ruled that the officer and educators named in the lawsuit were entitled to immunity and the arrest was justified under a New Mexico law that prohibits anyone from interfering in the education process.

The student was a seventh-grader at Albuquerque’s Cleveland Middle School at the time of the May 2011 arrest. He is not named in court documents.

His mother, who also is not named, filed the lawsuit against the then-13-year-old’s principals and the police officer who escorted him to his patrol car before patting him down, cuffing him and taking him to a juvenile detention center. He was held for an hour before his mother arrived.

She said her son’s arrest was unlawful and resulted in excessive force.

“At worst, [the boy] was being a class-clown and engaged in behavior that would have subjected generations of school boys to an after-school detention, writing lines, or a call to his parents,” a complaint filed by her attorneys said.

The boy was suspended for the remainder of the school year.

The mother also said the school official engaged in an unlawful strip search of the boy, but the court found the use of the term “strip search” was a stretch and did not violate the boy’s constitutional rights.

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