Several hundred people gathered Tuesday night in east Columbus to protest a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
Six Mifflin High Girls Arrested; Police Use Mace
Six Mifflin High School students were arrested today after police were called to help break up a fight. Police officers used Mace to gain control of the situation.
“Mace is uncomfortable, but it’s not something that’s going to cause an injury and its effects do wear off,” Woods said.
Columbus Division of Police Sergeant Michael Woods said the girls did not respond to officers’ orders to stop fighting, so they used Mace. Woods said this is not an uncommon step.
“If you can use Mace, and it prevents a further escalation on our part of using a baton or nightstick or something like that, we can utilize the Mace to separate the combatants and then make the arrest,” Woods said. All six girls, in grades nine through eleven, were arrested. Woods said some were charged with disorderly conducts, others with assault.
Columbus Public Schools Media Relations Director, Greg Viebranz, said the girls were fighting about “neighborhood issues.”
“The six students involved made the unfortunate decision of trying to address that situation on school grounds,” Viebranz said.
Viebranz would not say if he thought the use of Mace was excessive. But he did say the school’s principal was displeased with the incident, especially after working to improve school climate and build better relationships among students. Mifflin has been in the news in recent months after former principal Regina Crenshaw was fired for failing to call police after a developmentally disabled girl was sexually assaulted.
“I think that the immediate response to this, the fact that the girls are facing the appropriate disciplinary measures, speaks of the fact that we have leadership out there that wants to have a positive school and keep the focus on academic achievement,” Viebranz said.
Viebranz said the girls will be attending expulsion hearings in the next couple of weeks.