Teen forced to ground by Arlington police pleads not guilty

Posted Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

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An Arlington teenager, who says she was "body-slammed" by a police officer when a private party got out of hand, pleaded not guilty to a charge of fighting in public in municipal court.

The girl, who is 15, appeared in court Monday, said her attorney Geoff Henley.

The girl was charged with fighting in public after a melee broke out at 1010 Collins Street, an entertainment and events center when a private party was shut down early.

The incident was caught on cellphone video which went viral. The video showed the police officer forcing the girl to the ground, but it does not show what happened beforehand.

The girl's parents, Julie and Kirk Perry, filed documents in state district court last month seeking depositions for a possible lawsuit against the city.

According to court documents, Officer Dylan Eckstrom used unnecessary force to throw the girl to the ground and used pepper spray on her. The girl also had cuts and scrapes on her face, according to the documents.

"Officer Eckstrom body slams and pepper sprays girl," the documents allege.

"Officer Eckstrom inexplicably pulled out his pepper spray and doused her in the face at close range as he pressed her lifeless body to the ground," the filing continues. "The spray severely burned her skin and open wounds hours later."

The girl was arrested and released to her parents.

The filing stated that Eckstrom ticketed the girl saying that he had to give his bosses a reason for pepper spraying her. Arlington police have said previously that they do not comment on pending litigation. The police department is conducting an internal investigation of the incident.

The Arlington Police Association also said recently that Eckstrom used "empty hand control" one of the lowest levels of force used when someone doesn't follow verbal commands.

A hearing on the possibility of taking depositions is scheduled for Oct. 5.

Elizabeth Campbell, 817-390-7696

Twitter: @fwstliz

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Arlington teen forced to ground by police officer
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