BROOKINGS (AP) – A woman has released police video of a South Dakota State University officer grabbing her teenage daughter by the wrist and handcuffing her during an arrest on campus last September.
Melissa Mentele, of Emery, says her two daughters were stopped by the officer as they walked on campus. Within seconds of leaving his squad car, the officer handcuffed 17-year-old Madison Mentele and restrained her face down while she screamed and repeatedly asked him to stop.
“The kids were literally doing nothing. They were walking across campus at 11:30 at night which was within curfew,” Mentele said, adding that she decided to share the video to raise questions about the officer’s actions.
“It looked like a felony drug arrest or a murder arrest,” Mentele said. Madison, who suffered a dislocated wrist, was never charged with anything.
Officer Jason Baker defended the arrest in court Monday, saying he stopped the girls due to suspicious behavior. Baker testified at a trial for Mentele’s 19-year-old daughter, Lillian, who was charged with obstruction and resisting arrest for trying to intervene in her younger sister’s arrest. She was found guilty of obstruction, but the resisting charge was dropped.
Mentele broke down in court when the video was played. She said she is still looking for answers as to why the officer is employed by the university. SDSU spokesman Mike Lockrem said Tuesday the university doesn’t comment on legal or personnel matters.
The Brookings County attorney declined to charge the officer last year after the state Division of Criminal Investigation reviewed the arrest.