An incident captured on both cell phone and bodycam footage at a Tennessee high school is gaining traction online. In the video, a Black student is being reprimanded by a white school coach for wanting to play basketball instead of kickball during gym class.
Tauris Sledge, 18, had an argument with his physical education coach after he was seen playing basketball despite informing the coach he was unwell to play kickball. When confronted, Sledge accused the coach of racism and officer Tyler McRae was brought in to intervene.
On September 20, Sledge could be seen raising his voice in frustration and repeatedly telling his coach, “I was feeling sick.” “If I’m feeling sick, I’m gonna be up there on the bleachers. What is you not understanding,” he said. McRae then insists Sledge lower his voice. Sledge, however, walks away as he continues to talk to his coach. As McRae then places his hands on his shoulder, an annoyed Sledge is heard saying, “Get your hand off me.” He then walks away to the bleachers.
McRae then approaches Sledge on the bleachers in an attempt to get him out of the gym but Sledge refuses. The cop threatens to take him to jail, claiming his conduct was disorderly. Sledge, however, refuses to get up, and McRae grabs him by his neck and starts yanking him off the bleachers. “All right man, take your backpack off,” McRae said as he reached for Sledge’s back and then neck. “Don’t resist me, dude. Don’t resist me.”
The shocking footage shows McRae’s bodycam drop to the floor. After a while, he could be seen getting ahold of Sledge by his backpack strap, insisting the student take it off. “I will let you go if you take this bag off,” McRae said as Sledge demanded his dad be called. After a while, when both of them were off the bleachers, McRae is seen pepper-spraying the unarmed Sledge while continuing to insist he take off his backpack.
Sledge was unresponsive for several seconds as McRae attempted to remove his backpack. “You’re still going to resist?” McRae questioned. “You want some more dude? That’s fine cause I have a whole can,” he said. Sledge repeatedly kept saying, “Why are you harassing me?” Moments later, Sledge’s father arrived and could be seen calmly listening as McRae explained the situation. The unidentified father could be seen removing the pepper spray from Sledge’s eyes. Sledge then handed over his belongings to his father before McRae placed him in handcuffs. He was charged with disorderly conduct, assault, and resisting arrest.
After the incident, East Ridge High School led a peaceful protest on the football field demanding justice for Tauris Sledge. Hamilton County Sheriff Austin Garrett, who overlooks Sledge’s position as a school resource deputy, said he was notified immediately after the incident and added he intends to carefully review the case. Officer Tyler McRae has a history of accusations and lawsuits against him.
A Tennessee School Resource Officer grabbed HS student Tauris Sledge by the neck & DRAGGED him down the bleachers after an argument over his choice not to play kickball. Even worse, Tauris is facing charges despite being brutalized by an SRO who was supposed to protect him! pic.twitter.com/YboatGkMWc
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) September 27, 2022