School Security Officer Arrested For Punching Student Who Refused to Go to Class

A school security guard in Miami, Florida, was arrested last week for punching a student in the chest. However, he was shortly released on bond.

He reportedly faces charges of child abuse, and the incident, which was caught on camera, serves as one more example of a bystander's video proving to be helpful to police.

According to NBC Miami, the security officer, Antwan Ruffin, was arrested at Horace Mann Middle School on August 26. In the affidavit obtained by the news station, police said that Ruffin "wilfully and intentionally punched (the victim) on the right upper chest area," after the victim refused to go to class.

The student was not injured; however, the station reports that Ruffin faces charges of child abuse with no great bodily harm and battery.

As previously stated, the altercation was caught on cellphone video by an unnamed bystander. The video, which has since been shared on Twitter, shows Ruffin yelling at the victim before finally punching him in the chest.

"Try me. Let me tell you something," Ruffin begins. "This hallway, I run. When that bell rings, you in my hallway."

The boy responds by saying, "yo," which causes Ruffin to move closer.

Ruffin continues to shout and then asks the student if he wants a phone to call. Shortly after asking, he punches the student in the chest.

"It's concerning," a parent told WSVN-TV. "I'm not going to lie. It's very concerning. You send your kids to school, and you think they are going to be safe at school. You're not thinking an adult is going to put his hands on your child."​

Cell phone video has become invaluable to investigators in recent years, as video can help police identify the location, time and people involved in committing a crime.

In 2020, shocking bystander videos depicted the deaths of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. In 2017, a cellphone video was used to sentence Michael Slager to prison for the fatal shooting of Walter Scott.

Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project told How Stuff Works that people have the right to film almost anything on public property.

"When in public spaces where you are lawfully present you have the right to photograph — still or video — anything that is in plain view," he said.

He also explained to How Stuff Works that in certain cases, bystanders may also have the right to film incidents occurring on private property.

"If you disobey the property owner's rules, they can order you off their property and have you arrested for trespassing if you do not comply," Stanley said.

"Some recent court cases have suggested that there may be exceptions, however, where people can record even against the wishes of a property owner, such as when you're taping something of public concern like illegal activity," he continued. "The law is still uncertain in that area."

Of course, help should always be called to those in immediate danger.

Ruffin was arrested but was later released on bond. NBC Miami reports that the district is taking "all necessary disciplinary actions against this individual, up to and including dismissal."

Newsweek reached out to Miami-Dade police for comment but did not immediately hear back.

police lights
Stock image of police lights. A school security guard in Florida was caught on cellphone video punching a student in the chest after an altercation. Oleksandr Filon/iStock

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