Update: San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept. investigating Lincoln High School brawl

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Thursday – The San Diego Unified School District is calling on the Sheriff’s Department to investigate a local high school brawl.

The brawl happened last month at Lincoln High School.

A school security officer was assaulted during the brawl as he tried to break it up.

He said he had no choice, but to use his Taser gun.

The security officer is now being accused of going too far.

KUSI reached out to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and was told the district asked for an independent third party to review the facts and circumstances of the situation.

Specifically, to ensure the officer was in compliance with their "Use of Force" policy.

Three students are facing charges in the assault.

3/17/2016 – Some new developments concerning the Lincoln High School brawl several weeks ago. 

Friday in court, prosecutors described how a campus police officer was punched numerous times to the point of being knocked unconscious and suffering a concussion.

Also Friday, students held their own news conference to voice their concerns.

3/10/2016 – It’s been nearly two weeks since a brawl broke out at Lincoln High School, but still no official video has been released.

Student cellphone video shows part of the brawl that sent five students and a campus officer to the hospital, but it does not show how it all started.

The superintendent of San Diego Unified School District has promised the release of official surveillance video of the scene, but so far, it has not happened.

A criminal defense attorney said releasing the video is critical to the case.

"It’s a very controversial situation where perhaps the community is polarized without the full story, some people thinking the cops were beat upon, other people thinking that the students are the victims of overreaction of the police department. The public ought to be able to view this and form their own opinions about it, and the public aren’t the ones that are going to try the case or drop any charges, but the public has the right to see these," said Attorney Jan Ronis of Ronis & Ronis Law.

KUSI reached out to District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’s office, who said it is not the DA’s call to release the video.

Ronis said he does not know if any California law that would prevent the official video from being released from any law enforcement agency.

3/9/2016 – Wednesday outside of the Joe and Vi Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, San Diego NAACP President Dr. Andre Branch called for the immediate dismissal of charges against all students involved in the altercation at Lincoln High School on February 26.

Dr. Branch also called for the San Diego Unified School District to permanently remove armed officers from the Lincoln High campus and requested the surveillance video from the scene be released immediately from District Attorney’s office.

"The NAACP is calling for the District Attorney to drop all charges against the students… We’re calling for the school district to no longer employ an armed and uniformed officer at Lincoln HS… We’re calling for the DA and the school district to release the video of the event immediately…. No more punitive action against the kids until the video is released.”

Dr. Branch announced the three resolutions passed by the membership of the San Diego Branch of the NAACP noting the NAACP’s dissatisfaction with the handling of the incident by the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD), claiming that SDUSD and the San Diego Unified School Police Department (SDUSDPD) failed to follow its own Memorandum of Understanding with the San Diego Police Department (SDPD). 

The organization wants a close examination of the officer involved in the incident and his actions during the altercation. The NAACP believes this is necessary and should begin with the immediate release of the video of the incident.

Shortly after the San Diego NAACP’s statement was made, both the SDUSD and DA’s office released statements of their own, in response.

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.”

DA statement regarding NAACP Press Conference:

"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.”

3/8/2016 – San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten visited Good Morning San Diego Tuesday to provide an update to the three male Lincoln High School students involved in a brawl that took place on campus February 26.

"Make no mistake, we know how serious these chargers are. Not just these charges, but other charges that juveniles have faced in some of the past cases of restorative practice," Martin said. "The charges are serious, but what we are looking for is how to not repeat."

Marten went on to explain that the judicial process is taking its course with the students, but that the district is applying its own means, through a restorative justice program, to come to its own conclusions and determinations, including what consequences might be applied through the program.

"Sometimes it’s giving speeches to students about what you learned, sometimes it’s community service, sometimes it’s working in after school programs, working with students younger than you to be able to talk about the lessons you’ve learned. Those are some of the examples of what we’ve seen come out of restorative conferences that we’ve had."

Marten is aware of the criticism that SDUSD is facing with this alternative restorative justice program approach to discipline, but believes it will be a method that will change the district and the City of San Diego for the better moving forward.

3/7/2016 – A detention hearing for a third minor in connection with a brawl at Lincoln High School between students and police officers took place inside the City Courthouse Monday morning.

The judge on the case did not allow full media access to the hearing, as juvenile hearings are typically kept confidential.

Information was, however, provided by a single member of the media, who was allowed inside the courtroom to represent all outside media.

The detention hearing marked the initial court appearance for the third male minor in the case, a senior at Lincoln High School. The minor’s age was not stated in the courtroom, but it was reported that the Lincoln Hornet senior carried a 2.6 GPA and was set to graduate this spring.

The minor was represented by attorney Richard Arroyo, and his mother, father and basketball coach were also in attendance.

A petition was filed against the minor, by the District Attorney’s office on March 4. Five charges are on the petition, and the minor is being arraigned on all of those charges, which include theft.

Denials to those charges were immediately entered on the minor’s behalf.

The judge noted that two other minors associated with this incident at Lincoln were released on home detention.

According to the defense attorney, the minor has no prior record and turned himself into law enforcement on March 2.

The judge still needs to determine the minor’s detention.

When asked if any of the three students would be expelled, an attorney from the San Diego Unified School District said that, "They will not be expelled."

3/4/2016 – One week ago, a brawl at Lincoln High School left a campus police officer with serious injuries and sent five students to the hospital.

And despite the fact the officer is still recovering from his injuries, School Superintendent Cindy Marten joined community leaders to find a way to move forward without placing blame.

There was a lot of talk about justice, not the punitive kind, but something called "restorative justice" and that means helping this school community to heal, but there was no mention of the school police officer who was injured and in a wheelchair after police say he was assaulted by two students.

It was a confrontation at Lincoln High that spiraled out of control. Two students, a 16-year-old and another minor, were arrested for assaulting a campus police officer. The 16-year-old, charged with four felonies, was released to home detention.

But the focus at a news conference Friday was not on more punishment. The superintendent of San Diego’s public schools is promising to work on an approach that will help the school community to recover.

Superintendent Cindy Marten said the events of last Friday are still under investigation and until more facts are known, no one will be expelled.

The Reverend Cornelius Bowser was one of the community members who listened to the news conference. He thinks there’s a lot of work ahead.

Tasha Williamson is another member of the community who faults the school district for being too quick to speak to the media without more engagement with students and teachers.

Parents are Lincoln High have also asked the district why some  students were pepper sprayed and Tased.

The Reverend Share Harris, who helped to organize the news conference, is urging the district to transfer the campus officer who was involved in the melee.

The superintendent declined to say what would happen to the school officer, nor did she answer question about the school surveillance video and her decision to turn that video over the District Attorney’s office.

Edith Smith, who says this is a school in crisis, is waiting to see what restorative justice looks like and what changes the district will make.

KUSI contacted the campus police department for the San Diego Unified School District for reaction to Friday’s decision by Superintendent Marten.

So far, they have not gotten back to us. 

3/2/2016 – The son of San Diego rapper Brandon Duncan, more widely known as "Tiny Doo," was released to his parent Wednesday afternoon after being held in Juvenile Detention since Friday.

Duncan’s son faced a Juvenile Judge for the first time Wednesday, where he was read his rights and the four felonies he is formerly being charged with, including assault on a police officer. Ultimately, Judge Browder Willis decided to release Duncan on home detention, which includes electronic surveillance. His only exceptions are that he can return to school, go to Church and meet with his attorney.

The 16-year-old pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him.

One extracurricular that was not added to the list of exceptions was Duncan’s participation on the Lincoln Hornets’ track team. He has no disciplinary action on record, and no criminal history.

Duncan’s son was one of two students who faced a detention hearing Wednesday. The other hearing was not made public and no information was released on the other student who was also held in Juvenile Detention since Friday’s brawl.

According to the Deputy District Attorney, Minaz Bhayani, the campus Police officer who deployed his Taser and was taken to a hospital after the brawl, is now in a wheelchair with no feeling in right hand, possibly due to nerve damage.

Several questions remain in the case, including when the San Diego Unified School District will release video from the incident.

A readiness conference is scheduled for March 11.

2/29/2016 – Hundreds of students gathered in a circle formation Monday at Lincoln High School, chanting "We-Are… Lin-Coln."

The aftermath of Friday’s lunch hour ‘slap boxing’ fight, which sent five students to area hospitals including one tazed student to juvenile hall, has shaken up the Lincoln Hornets community. Teachers and counselors were readily available Friday, providing support and guidance for students looking for answers to what went wrong.

Parents from the school have been equally concerned, but appear to be on track to legal action.

The tazed student currently in juvenile hall, 16-year-old sophomore Jesse Duncan, happens to be the son of controversial rapper Brandon Duncan, more widely known as "Tiny Doo." 

In March of 2015, criminal charges were dropped against Doo, who faced 25-years-to-life in prison. He was charged with inciting violence with his rap lyrics. The judge would later throw out all of the charges.

RELATED: All charges dropped against rapper ‘Tiny Doo’

Now Duncan is likely to be on the offensive side of the courtroom, hiring his former lawyer, Brian Watkins, to help sue the San Diego Police Department after Tazing his son, who was reportedly walking away from the brawl when an officer confronted and later tazed him. Attorney Watkins is considering a lawsuit against S.D.P.D. for using excessive force.

Jesse Duncan is a 3.0 student at Lincoln and has no criminal record. 

Video from the school district has not yet been released. It could give a clear view of what really happened.

2/26/2016 – A lunch-hour brawl at Lincoln High School Friday sent five students and a campus security officer to hospitals.

The fracas at the campus in the 4700 block of Imperial Avenue erupted for unknown reasons about noon. It took city and school police roughly 15 minutes to get the situation under control, said Linda Zintz, spokeswoman for San Diego Unified School District.

While halting the fight, officers used pepper spray on an undetermined number of students. Medics treated some of them at the scene for effects of the chemical irritant and took four others to a hospital, along with a teen who had been subdued by a campus officer’s electric stun gun. The youths were treated and released a short time later, Zintz said.

A school policeman was taken to a trauma center with head and leg injuries. He remained under medical care in the late afternoon, Zintz said.

The cause of the violence was under investigation.

Categories: KUSI