Racine Police officer charged in 2015 incident at Park High School

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Brinelle Nabors, right, confers with Patrick Cafferty, his defense attorney, as he makes his initial appearance in Racine County Circuit Court in Racine, Wis. Thursday May 10, 2018 on one felony charge and two misdemeanor charges. Nabors, a Racine police officer, is accused of excessive force against a student while working at Park High School in 2015. He was released on a $10,000 signature bond. (c) Mark Hertzberg for Racine County Eye
Racine Police Officer
Brinelle Nabors (c) Mark Hertzberg for Racine County Eye

Charges of battery, disorderly conduct, and misconduct in public office were brought against Brinelle Nabors, a City of Racine Police Department officer who was working off-hours at Washington Park High School.

If convicted of all charges, Nabors could face up to 52 months imprisonment and fines of up to $21,000.

In court on Thursday, Nabors is free on a $10,000 signature bond.

According to a criminal complaint filed by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office, a run-in between Nabors and a student happened on Nov. 20, 2015 at Washington Park High School. Nabors told investigators that he observed the student in the cafeteria with a bottle of “lean,” which is described as a mixture of drugs and juice.

Nabors reported that during the incident the student actively resisted, but he was eventually placed in handcuffs and escorted out of the cafeteria. The student yelled and threatened Nabors as he escorted the student toward the school’s office. Nabors also told investigators that the student “kept tensing up and attempted several times to pull away and that he would also swing his head” toward him.

The complaint also notes that Nabors felt the student “was about to swing his head.” Nabors “threw a reactionary strike causing dysfunction” so that the student could be “directed into the locker.”

Nabors allegedly punched student

Another police officer working at the school day reported that he witnessed Nabors and a second officer approach him. This officer reported that, when the group was about 15 feet away from him, he saw Nabors use his right hand to punch the student one time with a closed fist to the right side of the student’s face.

That same officer reported that the student’s knees buckled underneath him, at which point Nabors used his left arm to hold the student up and guided him into the locker in a move that is described as a “wall stun.” The same officer reported after the student was removed from school, Nabors “approached him and apologized to him for having to see the incident that occurred between Officer Nabors and the student,” according to the complaint.

Nabors submitted an official police report to the Racine Police Department regarding the incident and indicated that the student was arrested for a variety of offenses. Special Agent Raymond Gibbs, of the Wisconsin Department of Justice Department of Criminal Investigation, reported that he participated in an interview of Nabors, April 13, 2016.

The student gave a deposition related to the incident on June 26, 2017. He denied threatening the defendant and stated he kept asking the officers to pull his pants up. The student stated that he had injuries to his jaw, the back of his head, his chin, back, neck, and left ear as a result of the incident with the defendant. He received medical treatment for those injuries later that evening.

Video surveillance footage was reviewed

The Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office investigated the incident. They reviewed surveillance video of Nabors escorting the student prior to striking him. It “did not view any instances in which (the student) attempted to pull away or any instances in which Conrad C. swung his head towards Officer Nabors.”

The Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office also “did not observe evidence on the footage which would support Officer Nabors’ explanation for striking (the student) and then directing him into the lockers.”

And, lastly, the Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office complainant “did not observe any evidence justifying Officer Nabors’ employing the level of force seen against (the student) specifically the ‘reactionary strike’ to the face of Conrad C. and then directing him into a wall of metal lockers. And, noted: “that a police officer striking a handcuffed individual in police custody without proper justification is in excess of the lawful authority of a law enforcement officer.”

Nabors’ next appearance in Circuit Court is set for May 23.


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