On Tuesday, September 20, 2022, Tauris Sledge, a black teenager from Tennessee, was arrested for disorderly conduct by the high school's school resource officer. Body camera footage of the tussle between the SRO and Sledge was released by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, which has since gone viral on the internet.
Trigger warning: The following videos contain graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised.
East Ridge High School SRO Tyler McRae was called to the scene after a verbal argument broke out between 18-year-old Tauris Sledge and a coach. Instead of alleviating the situation, McRae tried to arrest the reluctant student, and the hour-long body camera footage revealed the entire ordeal.
To keep the situation from escalating, Tyler McRae placed their hand on Tauris Sledge, who backed up and told the SRO:
"You have five seconds to get your hands off me."
It was then that the situation spiraled out of control. Sledge tried to leave and was ordered by the officer to take his bag off. The body camera footage shows that when Sledge refused to comply, he was pepper sprayed in the face. He can be heard saying in the video:
"I am not resisting."
The full hour-long video shows the SRO entering the gym and talking to the coach.
What led to the arrest of Tauris Sledge? Students protest against police brutality
On Tuesday, Tauris Sledge, a student at East Ridge High School, asked to be excused from playing kickball because he was feeling unwell. After some time, however, his coach found him playing basketball. The coach confronted him and demanded to know why he was not feeling well enough for kickball but could play basketball during his free time.
The confrontation escalated when Sledge reportedly "puffed out his chest" and "aggressively" started publicly accusing the coach of racism. At this point, the SRO, Tyler McRae, intervened. Tauris was eventually arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and assault.
Following the incident, the students have staged protests and walkouts at the Tennessee High School.
According to Complex, Sledge’s attorney Robin Flores said they are currently “laying the groundwork” to press charges.