Video: Teen Assaulted by Hospital Security, Deputy at Atrium Health Lincoln
The 16-year-old’s mother was taking him to the healthcare facility to receive mental health treatment when multiple violent confrontations occurred.
A 16-year-old brought by his mother to a Lincolnton, N.C., healthcare facility for mental health treatment was assaulted by two hospital security officers and a Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputy.
Jessica Long took her son to the emergency room at Atrium Health Lincoln on Dec. 8 because she was worried her son was having a mental health emergency, reports WBTV. Video surveillance shows the boy, who was angry and did not want to be there, shove his mother as she motions to a security officer to help get him into the building.
The security officer is seen speaking with Long and her son for approximately one minute before the officer grabs the boy, shoves him to the ground and pulls out his taser. The boy then gets up off the ground and the officer shoves him violently off the sidewalk into the grass.
A second security officer walks over and the first officer holsters his taser as Long and her son start walking back towards her car. Long reportedly wanted the officers to bring her son into the ER while she moved her car. As she turns her back, the second officer puts the boy in a chokehold and slams him to the ground, smashing his face on the pavement. Pools of blood can be seen on the ground.
“At no point did they tell him to put his hands behind his back, to stand still, they never tried to deescalate the situation. They just immediately went for full-blown physical force,” Long said. “And these were big guys, and my son’s, what, maybe 120 pounds.”
The officers cuffed the boy, who remained on the ground for more than five minutes until four Sheriff’s deputies arrived. When the officers got off the boy and sat him up, he spit blood at a deputy. The deputy then punched the handcuffed boy twice in the face.
That deputy, later identified as Justin Polson, is then seen aggressively walking toward Long, yelling at her. Another deputy then pulls Polson away from Long. Polson again begins advancing toward Long before being brought to the ground by the second deputy.
Hospital Exec, Sheriff Defend Officers’ Actions
Maureen Swick, who oversees Atrium security as the system’s nurse executive, defended the actions of the hospital security officers.
“Based on the events – and you saw the video – I would say they did the best that they could under the circumstances,” she said. “Given the escalation of his behavior, the fact that he was striking his mom and then he struck the officer, they – they de-escalated the situation.”
Lincoln County Sheriff Bill Beam also defended Polson, stating he reacted appropriately and denying that the deputy punched the boy in the face — something Polson later admitted.
“Spitting in a law enforcement officer’s face – spitting blood in a law enforcement officer’s face – is a felonious assault and he had a right to stop that assault from occurring,” Beam told WBTV. “All I saw was once and he was pushing him back away,” he continued when asked if punching the handcuffed boy was an appropriate use of force.
The teen spent eight days in juvenile detention before a juvenile court hearing Monday, where he pleaded guilty to simple assault and underage consumption of alcohol, according to WCNC. Both charges are misdemeanors.
At the hearing, Swick said the teen acted physically aggressive and threatened to bring a gun to the hospital and shoot people.
“He kept saying to the officers that he had a gun and he wanted to shoot people,” said Swick. “So, he took the action that he thought was necessary to contain the situation.”
According to officials, as of Feb. 15, Polson is no longer employed by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s office.
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