Sam Houston high-school sophomore Ixel Perez, was pinned to the ground by three Houston police officers after she got in trouble for answering a phone call about her sick mother in class, footage recorded from the scene and posted to social media shows.
The video shows the 4 feet 10 inch, 100 pound high school student screaming as three police officers hold her down with one appearing to have his knee on her head.
Perez said it all started because she refused to give her cellphone to an assistant principal who demanded it after she answered a call in class about her ailing mother, who has kidney problems and receives dialysis treatment.
Apparently Perez’s mother was missing and her worried husband called Perez after not being able to find her.
“I checked my phone, that’s the only reason I got sent out of class by my reading teacher. And my reading teacher was talking to me and the [Assistant Principle] comes into the conversation and just said ‘Give me your phone, give me your phone,’” Perez described. “I did not want to give her my phone because I was still worried about my mama.”
Perez walked away and ignored the administrators and that’s when the cops were called. Just as Perez reached her mom, she says she was confronted by the officers.
“I walked downstairs and there were two cops coming up in front of me and a cop from behind me,” Perez said. “The cop behind me pulled my jacket back.”
Perez said she tried to tell them she was talking to her mother, but they told her they did not care.
“I didn’t want to let go of my phone so they like, pinned me down to the floor,” she said. “One of them was behind me, like on my legs and trying to put the handcuffs on. It hurt a lot. And the other cop has his knee on my head, all his weight on me, and I was screaming because it hurt so much. I was crying because I thought I was going to get in trouble with my mom.”
The altercation between Perez and the officers garnered alot of attention after students posted it on social media using the hashtag #FreeSamHouston. Additionally, students held protests at the school.
Perez was suspended until Friday. Her mother says they are still having problems with school staff.
“Yesterday I tried to take her out of this school, looking for another school, but police came in there and kicked me out,” her mother said. She said they threatened to take her to jail if she did not leave.
School administrators released the follow statement:
The safety of our students at Sam Houston High School and of all our schools is always our absolute top priority. We are aware of this issue and investigating.
Local News Coverage containing raw footage: