SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – The NAACP weighed in on the brawl at Lincoln High School last month and organizers called for the dismissal of all charges in the incident.
The NAACP on Wednesday called on the district attorney to dismiss all charges against the students.
The NAACP was joined by other civil rights groups in questioning the school district’s handling of the Lincoln High School fight.
At the core of the issue is a surveillance video of the incident that is now in the hands of the D.A.
“This incident happened in a public school and the public deserves to know what happened to its children in this public place,” said Andre Branch, NAACP San Diego President.
The D.A. office said a school police officer attempted to help one teen when the teen began to punching him. Then, a second teen is accused of joining in, knocking the officer unconscious.
Both students are facing felony charges, which the NAACP called premature.
“The school district has violated its own memorandum of understanding by calling for assistance from the San Diego police department in this event, involving the district attorney without first completing an investigation,” said Branch.
The district said city police are involved as an independent agency since the incident involved one of its own officers. It also supports the release of the surveillance video, but the district attorney would have to approve the release.
The district attorney issued the following statement:
“Based on the facts and the evidence in these cases, including the assault of a police officer and the severity of his injuries, the appropriate criminal charges have been filed. In all juvenile cases, the ultimate goal is not to incarcerate minors, but to rehabilitate them whenever possible and keep young people out of the adult criminal justice system.”
Last week, Superintendent Cindy Marten said the two students will not be expelled, but could face disciplinary action such as a suspension once a separate, non-criminal investigation is completed.
“We as a district have committed in our policy and actions to a restorative approach. We stand with our children with love and respect,” said Marten.
The NAACP questions the school’s stance by claiming the district turned its back on the students when it turned over the investigation.
“This matter should have been investigated by the San Diego Unified Police Department not turned over to the San Diego Police Department. That in our view does not demonstrate advocacy for these students,” said Branch.
The district released a statement Wednesday thanking several members of the community who are helping the healing process, adding it looks forward to the NAACP joining in.
Statement from San Diego Unified School District regarding NAACP Press Conference:
"The Lincoln High School community has demonstrated real character in how they have come together following this incident. We will continue to support the school, our staff and students as they continue the healing process. We are also grateful for all of our community partners who have helped, including Bishop McKinney of St. Stephen's Church of God, Rev. Shane Harris of the National Action Network, Assemblywoman Dr. Shirley Weber, Councilwoman Myrtle Cole and so many others. We look forward to the NAACP joining us in the future to complete this important work."