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Chicago Public Schools officials are investigating whether Corliss High School security officers -- including one captured on video with his knee on a subdued student's upper back -- were abusive in detaining the 14-year-old freshman just inside the school's front door.
A tape obtained by the Sun-Times shows part of a fracas that resulted after Shaquille Griffin arrived at Corliss on Thursday morning out of uniform.
Students who gathered around can be heard on the tape saying, "They [security officers] just beat him up. ... They could have broke his neck."
Shaquille told the Sun-Times one security officer "head-butted" him after complaining he was walking too slowly out the door. Two officers threw him to the ground, and when he tried to get up, one officer kept "banging my head ... on the ground," he said.
"I was just hurt. I was scared. They treated me like I was nothing," Shaquille said. "They were wrong for that. I didn't do nothing. I want them to be punished."
CPS officials are reviewing the videotape, taken by a student, and investigating the matter to determine if the officers were in any way abusive, said CPS spokesman Michael Vaughn.
Corliss officials say Shaquille was one of four students who initiated "a physical altercation" with security officers, Vaughn said. Shaquille will be suspended for disobeying directions to remove gang colors, being out of uniform and initiating a fight with security, Vaughn said. He can appeal.
One CPS source said the security officers claim Shaquille was among four students who became "enraged" when asked to change into uniform around 9:30 a.m. Thursday. The officers claim the students tackled security officer Ricky Bell, beating and kicking him. Bell is an off-duty Chicago Police officer, a source said.
Shaquille's mother, Tamika Griffin, insisted her son never started a fight. She said she bought her son the red and black jacket pictured in the video and, "my son is not a gang-banger."
"They are going to claim a bunch of stuff because they [were] wrong," Griffin said.