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Experts back officer's action viral school pepper spray video

Posted at 5:06 PM, May 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-22 21:56:37-04

Experts and school district leadership are explaining the actions of one officer in a viral pepper spraying incident that has drawn criticism from parents and students at Silverado High School.

The viral video that has been viewed nearly 10,000 times and was first reported by 13 Action News Monday, shows a student being pepper sprayed by a Clark County School District police officer.

“The video that I saw, I feel like the police officer was a little bit out of line but I don’t know what happened before hand," said Nick Wagmeister, a freshman at Silverado High School.

School police say there was a fight before the video began and the student seen in the video was not complying with officer commands.

“I know the stuff looks ugly on video. It really does," said Clark County School District Trustee Kevin Child.

"But we need to protect all students and I don’t want any students coming into any of our schools and feeling like they’re going to be afraid of getting hurt," added Child.

Child says context is important to understand the entire situation and cautions from making any judgments from the video.

"We have to look at the whole picture, and not just that clip," said Child.

The school district leader represents the area in which Silverado High School is located. Child has been an outspoken advocate for adding additional police officers to the department.

"There is only one officer at the school, there should be two and it's because of those budget cuts," said Child.

We asked 13 Action News crime and safety expert, Retired Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Lieutenant Randy Sutton to watch the video and provide his perspective.

"When an officers tells you do to do something, you do it," said Sutton. "If you don't, he's going to make you," added Sutton.

Sutton says pepper spray is low on the use of force continuum and it's the suspect's actions that dictate the level of force needed to gain compliance.

The student was booked for "breach of peace," battery on an officer and resisting arrest.