The Camden Police Department has relieved an officer of his duties pending an investigation into an incident where he reportedly choked a Camden Fairview High School student.
Camden Police Chief Bo Woody invited members of local media to his office to discuss an incident that showed Officer Jake Perry appearing to choke a Camden Fairview High School student, lifting him off of the ground while attempting to detain him. Perry was assigned to work as a school resource officer at the school this month.
“Because of the video I saw, effective immediately, Officer Perry has been relieved of his duties pending the investigation and the outcome of it,” Woody said. “I just wanted everybody to know, including the mayor that as the police chief, I’m not going to tolerate misconduct from officers from this department."
Woody said that he had seen the video posted to Facebook, that he had spoken to Perry, and that the officer had given statements to investigators. A Criminal Investigation Division captain has been assigned to the investigation.
Woody said that the student and his parent will also come in for interviews and that he has officers already at the high school working to get footage. He confirmed that Perry was wearing a body camera but said that he hadn’t seen the footage.
After the investigation is complete, the findings will go to the mayor and be made public, the chief said. He said the use of force in the video appeared to be “excessive.”
Woody said that Perry has been with the police department for two or three years. The officer told the chief that he was responding to a report of a fight and was trying to detain the student, Woody said.
In a statement, the Camden Fairview School District said the district was aware of the incident.
“I have been informed that the officer involved has been relieved of duty pending an investigation by CPD,” Superintendent Fred Lilly said in the statement. “CFSD will fully cooperate with the CPD’s investigation. In order to prevent similar incident from occurring in the future, CFSD will work with the CPD to ensure that current policies and procedures for all SRO’s stationed at CFSD schools are reviewed and revised if necessary. CFSD’s first priority is, and will continue to be, to provide an excellent education to all of our student in a safe environment.”