ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — The Round Rock Police Department officer who was videotaped grabbing a Round Rock High School student by the throat in October won’t face any disciplinary action.
A RRPD spokesperson says the case involving Officer Rigo Valles and student Gyasi Hughes, 14, was investigated by Internal Affairs and the department determined the officer’s actions “were reasonable and within policy” and there were no violations of department procedures. Internal Affairs came to the decision after reviewing video and statements.
“Are you telling me you can choke a kid on school campus, and body slam him and that’s your policy? Look at the whole nation, does anybody think we’re going to accept that?” says Nelson Linder, Austin NAACP president. Linder says he doesn’t believe Round Rock police conducted a thorough investigation. “We’re going to call for a DOJ investigation and there are legal efforts already taken place.”
The Round Rock police department says Officer Valles was not put on leave after the altercation, but do confirm he was reassigned away from Round Rock high school while the department investigated.
“(The police chief) should’ve talked to the family and put this guy off duty until the investigation was finished, that’s what you typically do,” says Linder.
Police say Officer Valles will remain a school resource officer and will return to the district now that their investigation is complete.
In a video that went viral, two School Resource Officers can be seen talking to Hughes. Less than a minute into the video, Officer Valles can be seen grabbing the student by the neck and taking him down to the floor.
Police say the situation started as a disagreement between two male students. Two Round Rock Police School Resource Officers (SROs) were requested by administrators to assist with a fight in the cafeteria because they were unable to “de-escalate the fight and needed police assistance.” Administrators told police one of the student’s involved refused to comply.
Police say the SROs tried to calm the student down but he still wanted to continue the altercation with the other student. “After repeated attempts to calm the non-compliant student, and stop him from going after the other student, officers were forced to detain him for his safety and the safety of others,” continued RRPD in a statement from October.
“Finally I asked him (the officer) to leave me alone and that’s the point when he grabbed me and took me down and tried to detain me,” said Hughes of the altercation. “I was just very upset, I was amped up over the fight and wasn’t really thinking. I apologized to the officer.”
Hughes was suspended for several days for the altercation.
Just last week, all RRISD campus administrators participated in a training regarding Student Resource Officers. The training focused on the roles of SROs in schools and the laws and regulations associated with officers in schools.
RRISD partners with SROs at 14 secondary schools through the City of Round Rock and Williamson County.