Middletown officer under fire for pushing student down while breaking up fight

Middletown officer under fire for pushing student down while breaking up fight
Published: Apr. 14, 2015 at 11:20 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 15, 2015 at 9:20 AM EDT
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(PHOTO: Facebook)
(PHOTO: Facebook)

MIDDLETOWN, OH (FOX19) - A Middletown police officer is under fire over how he broke up a fight between two middle school students.

The whole incident was captured on cell phone video that has gone viral.

Middletown police said it started as a food fight between two boys Tuesday in the Middletown middle school cafeteria.

Tempers flared, and the boys decided to settle the dispute outside. Another student began recording the fight on his camera phone. Moments later, the school resource officer intervened.

The video shows Officer Trey Porter running up to stop the fight. Police say one of the boys was about to throw a punch, so Porter pushed him in the left shoulder and the boy fell.

The student's mother, Vanessa Maree, sees it differently.

"My child was knocked down. There was no push it was full force hit," she said.

Middletown Police Deputy Chief Mark Hoffman said the officer could have handled the situation differently.

"There are certainly some other things the officer could have done, there are some worse things he could have done," said Hoffman. "I don't know, not having been at the scene it's difficult to second guess the officer. The use of force was minimal."

Comments about the incident have began to flood the Middletown police department's Facebook page and Hoffman said they've not all been flattering.

"There's been a lot of social media, a lot of negative comments toward this officer on social media," said Hoffman. "Those messages have been taken down except a message which reads in part. 'This is not a site to post videos or pictures in an attempt to become famous or stir controversy.'"

The student who recorded the video is being disciplined, but Vanessa Maree said she's glad he did it.

"I don't think the child who put it on Facebook should be punished. If he hadn't of posted that I'd would have never known my child was mauled by a cop," said Maree.

Porter was reassigned to other duties.

FOX19 NOW reached out to Middletown school officials, but they declined comment and referred all questions to police.

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