A stolen beef patty led to cops shooting a 17-year-old with a Taser last week at Middletown High School and police are defending their action as appropriate.
Police said they got involved in the lunchtime stun gun situation after the teen allegedly stole a Jamaican beef patty on Friday and then became combative.
The teen got into a verbal disagreement with the school staff members, who were escorting him from the cafeteria, the Middletown Press reports.
That’s when the school resource officer got involved and the student fought back, physically, police said. Then, another school resource officer who was responding to two students fighting on the other side of the cafeteria went over to help the first one and used the Taser, police said.
Police said on Wednesday that the student was "drive stunned," which means that the probes of the Taser were not used, and it was in response to the student struggling with the officer, not to the alleged theft.
“For the safety of the approximately 400 students, school staff and the SRO, a Taser was used to control the combative male student where he was then place under arrest and quickly escorted out of the building,” police said in a release.
The student, whose name was not released, was arrested as a youthful offender and charged with interfering with an officer, a breach of peace and sixth-degree larceny.
The student’s younger brother was also arrested while attempting to defend his brother, the Press reports.
Several parents were angry about police using a Taser on the student.
"You never know if the child has health problems or not. You don't know that stuff," Middletown parent Linda Clark said. "I really think they could have done something other than tase him."
The school is conducting its own investigation.
"The folks at the high school are interviewing people who were in the cafeteria," Supt. Dr. Michael Frechette said. "We're also going through the surveillance cameras to see if there's anything on the cameras and we plan to meet with the police department to talk about the situation."
Police told the newspaper that using stun gun was used as a last resort.
“Age is just a number,” Sgt. Mike Marino told the Press. “Personally, I would’ve rather gotten tased any day of the week than get pepper sprayed, which was the alternative.”
The chief of police said school officials will continue to work with police and school resource officers will continue to operate in the three schools they are in -- Middletown High School, Woodrow Wilson and Keigwin