According to a report from KTHV, the footage started circulating across social media starting Monday, with the original upload later removed from Facebook. In the footage, Camden Police Officer Jake Perry is seen wrapping his arms around a Camden Fairview High School student's neck before lifting him repeatedly in an effort to restrain him. When the student is lowered, Perry keeps his left arm around the neck of the student.
"This morning at Camden Fairview High School (CFHS), an incident occurred in the CFHS commons area involving a CFHS student and a Camden Police Department School Resource Officer (SRO) assigned to CFHS," Camden Fairview Public Schools Superintendent Fred Lilly said in a press release on Monday. "I have been informed that the officer involved has been relieved of duty pending an investigation by CPD. CFSD will fully cooperate with the CPD's investigation. In order to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, CFSD will work with the CPD to ensure that current policies and procedures for all SROs stationed at CFSD schools are reviewed and revised if necessary. CFSD's first priority is, and will continue to be, to provide an excellent education to all of our students in a safe environment."
In a separate statement, Camden Police Department Chief Boyd M. Woody confirmed that Perry had been "relieved of duty pending an investigation." Woody also condemned Perry's actions against the student, who has since been identified as ninth-grader Dekyrion Ellis.
"As the Police Chief, I will not tolerate misconduct from my officers and this matter will be dealt with accordingly and I will be transparent in doing so," Woody said.
The footage has stirred concerns from many on Twitter and elsewhere, with observers noting that the student is black and this incident is sadly merely the latest example in a long history of police brutality. In a subsequent interview with KTVE, Ellis recalled the horrifying experience.
"I feared for my life," Ellis, who said the troubling interaction with the officer was preceded by an argument between himself and another student. "I didn't know what was going to happen. I blacked out. I really didn't see anything until he took me back to the office."