Student charged in altercation with school resource officer

Caught on camera: altercation between officer and student leads to arrest

MENTOR, OH (WOIO) - A student accused of getting into an altercation with a Mentor High School resource officer has been charged by police.

According to the high school, James Craft was charged Wednesday with persistent disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and a tobacco violation.

A video showing the incident began making the rounds on social media this week. It shows an altercation between Mentor High School resource officer Chris Ivanovics and Craft. The video shows the resource officer shoving Craft to the ground before arresting him.

According to the police report, the student was confronted by his unit principal after they saw him smoking an e-cigarette in the building, which is against school policy, as well as state law. The unit principal requested that Craft hand it over. When he refused, the school resource officer got involved. Craft also ignored Officer Ivanovics when he told him to stay where he was and give him the e-cigarette. Craft became verbally abusive and defiant, trying to push his way past the officer to get on a school bus, which was caught on a second video. The officer was then forced to physically detain and arrest him.

officials told 19 Action News that they are looking into the matter and released this statement:

"Mentor Public Schools is investigating an incident that occurred between one of our Mentor High School students and a Mentor Police officer, who is assigned as our School Resource Officer, on school grounds on Tuesday, April 14. The officer involved will not be working at Mentor High School while the investigation is ongoing. While we cannot discuss individual cases involving our students publicly, safety and security remain our district's top priority."

After the incident, Craft was held at the school and released into his mother's custody. At this time, he has not been suspended from school.

The 16-year-old says he doesn't regret his actions and wouldn't change what happened.

"That's when the cop kept sticking his hands out and I kept trying to go around him. That's when he kept pushing and I said, 'Quit pushing me because that's disrespectful. I'm not touching you, so quit touching me.' As I kept trying to walk away he grabbed me by my neck and slammed me," said Craft.

His mother believes the officer used too much force.

"I think he should of handled it more appropriate, not as physical. That was wrong. He was only 16. He is a minor," said Alicia Craft.

The investigation will be forwarded to Lake County Juvenile Court for a hearing date to be scheduled. Police have more video of the incident but are not releasing it at this time.

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