Edison Students Blame Police Brutality For Melee

Officers from three departments including the city of Miami and Miami-Dade police were called to the school, which is located at 6161 NW 5th Court in Miami, after a school police officer hit an emergency button and called for backup, saying students were "rioting" at the school.

The melee started shortly after 11 a.m. as students were at lunch, and tried to stage a protest against the arrest Thursday of a student who had tangled with an assistant principal.

School officials say 27 students were arrested 15 males and 12 females, and ten officers were injured.

Friday night many parents were still waiting outside the Juvenile Assessment Center for their children to be released from detention. Some local pastors were present trying to alleviate parents' concerns.

"What they've been trying to do is get their charges reduced, so they don't have felony charges in their record," one of them told parents.

"We understand there was a disturbance between an administrator and a student, and later we understand the student attacked the administrator and also a school police officer," said Miami Dade Public Schools spokesman John Shuster."

"It sparked a chaotic scene inside, where several students started fighting with police officers," said Ignatius Carroll, a spokesman for Miami Fire Rescue.

"Police officers called for reinforcements, and Miami-Fire rescue responded. We did treat three officers with minor injuries and two students, one that kind of got some bumps and bruises as a result of the fight, and another one who got overly excited based on what happened here."

"They tried to stop our protest, and it's like don't we have the right to protest, don't we have our freedom of speech," said student Jensen Bolce, who said his hand was cut in 4 places when police forced him into a window.

"Can't we say what we gotta say because they don't want to listen when well tell them that's not right how he just came out there and puts his hands on a student. So we're trying to protest and when ever when the police."

School police stationed at the high school saw the process and believed it was getting out hand, according to Miami Dade Schools Police commander Charles Hurley.

"We recognize student expression and the right to demonstrate and we will generally make those accommodations within reasonable conditions," Hurley said. "This certainly grew very unruly to the point that our police officers were being pelted with bottled and milk crates and books and all sorts of objects, and these are just officers assigned to the school, on an every day school resource officer basis."

"They became very unruly, very uncooperative, and it solicited the significant response from lots of our local law enforcement and assisting agencies."

As officers, some with dogs and others dressed in riot gear could be seen arriving at the school in what was a massive mobilization of police vehicles and rescue units, students say the officers inside the school prompted the fight with a heavy-handed attempt to halt their protest.

"The principal himself started grabbing on people, slamming people on the floor, using police brutality, police brutality, beating us, with sticks, tasering us, spraying pepper spray on us," said student Laniece Sands."

"We are not N-----s in an alley."

A student named Julia said police officers appeared to be upset about students documenting the fight.

"And then when the students were there standing by trying to take pictures, of what was happening, you know what happened? You know what the police did? They started taking them and throwing them to the floor, because they didn't want us as students to voice our opinions, like we're nothing, like we're nobody," she said.

Helicopters hovering overhead could see paramedics going into the school with stretchers, but despite claims by Fire rescue that only a few people were hurt, students say there were far more casualties.

Bolce said "at least 30" students were hurt.

"It's all type of blood and stuff on top of the tables," said student Sharon Super.

"I was terrified, I was scarified. They was trying to let all of those K-9's all loose, and then one girl they punched in the stomach, they took her to Jackson, and she was pregnant. They broke one girl's leg."

There was no immediate evidence to back the students' claims.

As the massive police response virtually blockaded the school, students could be seen hustled into police wagons in plastic cuffs as police struggled to get the situation under control.

Entrance and exit ramps to I-95, which is located near the school, were closed for a time as school officials put the campus on lockdown.

Anxious parents flocked to the school, only to be turned away for hours as school officials started a staged dismissal. Many tried to reach their child on cell phones, anxious about their safety.

"The students are fine," said Carroll. "All in all, don't come rushing out here because this area is somewhat cordoned off and if you need to get to your students, come in an orderly fashion, don't come rushing trying to get inside for your kids. All your kids are fine."

The situation was deemed "under control" by police in about an hour.

Miami Dade Schools Superintendent Rudy Crew expressed appreciation to the police officers for controlling the situation, and said while the district supports free expression by students, "Misconduct by anyone, including students and staff, will not be tolerated."

Crew said he would monitor the situation, and promised school officials would meet with members of the community to resolve the issues which led to the protest.

School officials also established a hotline at 305-751-7337 for anyone with questions or comments about Friday's disturbance.