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Oakland school guard charged with abusing student in wheelchair

Oakland High guard arrested after handcuffing, striking, dumping wheelchair-bound student, officials say

An Oakland High School security guard has been fired and charged with felony child abuse after officials said he handcuffed, punched and then dumped a disabled student from his wheelchair in a class hallway.

The incident, partially captured by video surveillance cameras, occurred about 9 a.m. May 19 as Marchell Mitchell, 23, and another guard were urging students to clear out of hallways and get to class, officials said Thursday.

According to a statement from school Principal Matin Abdel-Qawi, the wheelchair-bound student was either slow to move or just refused to leave the hallway, prompting Mitchell to begin pushing the chair to class.

That's when the student -- who, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, has cerebral palsy -- tried slapping away the officer's hands. Mitchell then apparently handcuffed the boy and continued to roll him to class, Abdel-Qawi said.

Officials said that when the student spit in Mitchell's face, the officer struck the student several times before dumping him out of his chair. Mitchell had to be restrained by his partner before a school official, who arrived moments later, called police, officials said.

“I’m shocked and deeply hurt by this behavior and apologize on behalf of the staff at Oakland High," Abdel-Qawi said in a statement to Fox 40. "This incident is not reflective of the kind of culture we cherish at our school or how we treat one another."

Mitchell, who was fired the day of the incident, has been charged by Alameda County prosecutors with inflicting corporal injury to a child. He remains free after posting $10,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on June 16, the Chronicle reported.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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