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Lawsuit ongoing after video shows police officer shoving student at TF South

LANSING, Ill. (June 11, 2024) – The mother of a TF South student has filed a lawsuit against the Village of Lansing, Thornton Fractional High School District 215, and School Resource Officer Kiara Bogan after viewing a security video that shows Bogan shoving her son in the TF South cafeteria.

What happened?

The video shows a crowded TF South cafeteria at 8:11 a.m. on March 7, 2024.

Detective Bogan of the Lansing Police Department serves as the School Resource Officer for TF South. In the video, Bogan can be seen walking between two tables, pausing as a student approaches. The student — referred to in the lawsuit as only “J.H.S.” because he’s a minor — can be seen trying to pass between the same two tables, walking in the opposite direction.

J.H.S. appears to turn himself sideways to avoid contact with Bogan. Bogan, raising her right hand, does not move to allow the student to pass. As the student passes, making minor contact with Bogan, Bogan uses both hands to shove the student on his left side, causing him to briefly lose his balance. As he was pushed, J.H.S’s backpack made contact with a student sitting at the nearby table, causing the right strap to fall off his shoulder.

Although the video doesn’t include audio, following the push, J.H.S. turns around and exchanges words with Bogan.

The lawsuit alleges Bogan used an expletive when she told the student to watch out. It also alleges that she told the student to “say ‘excuse me’ next time.”

Attorney Jordan Marsh, who is representing J.H.S. and his mother, said J.H.S. responded with an expletive.

“Obviously, [J.H.S.] was completely stunned by what happened, and couldn’t believe that he was just shoved in the back,” Marsh said.

Bogan and J.H.S. exchange words for 16 seconds in the security video before J.H.S. turns and walks away, guided by a TF South staffer. Bogan follows the student for about 10 feet, continuing to talk to him while using confrontational body language. It’s unclear from the video what either Bogan or J.H.S. is saying.

The video of the incident was provided by the Law Office of Jordan Marsh:

Lawsuit details

Marsh, representing J.H.S.’s mother, Marquita Henson, filed a complaint on April 9, 2024, in the United States District Court for The Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division. The defendants in the case are listed as Kiara Bogan, the Village of Lansing, and Thornton Fractional High School District 215. The four counts included in the suit are excessive force, assault, battery, and indemnification.

“He was past her by the time she shoved him,” said Marsh. “Whatever contact there may have been was already made, and he’s walking away when she pushes him. … Obviously there was no law enforcement purpose served by that use of force.”

The lawsuit also alleges that TF South Principal Jacob Gourley falsely claimed that the video of the incident was not available to view the day after the incident took place.

It also alleges that Lansing Police Sergeant Joe Pomilia told Henson some time after the incident took place that Bogan was “in the wrong,” and had “lost her cool” after breaking up a disturbance just before the incident with J.H.S.

A PDF of the full lawsuit is available for review:

Response to lawsuit

Thomas J. Condon Jr. and John P. Wise, of the Montana & Welch law firm, filed a response to the lawsuit on June 4 on behalf of Bogan and the Village of Lansing. In the response, the defendants deny that J.H.S. attempted to avoid contact with Det. Bogan. They also deny some of the statements attributed to Bogan in the original lawsuit, including that she “continued to engage with and threaten J.H.S. as he walked away.” Sgt. Pomilia’s alleged statements that Bogan was “in the wrong” and “lost her cool” are also denied.

The response admits that Bogan did “shove” J.H.S.

The response also says, “Defendants deny that Defendant Kiara Bogan’s actions were
violent and that her words were abusive.”

In a section of the response titled “Affirmative Defense,” the defendants state the following: “At all relevant times Defendant Bogan was a government official, namely a police officer, who performed discretionary functions under the color of law. At all relevant times, a reasonable police officer objectively viewing the facts and circumstances that confronted Defendant Quinones [sic] could have believed their actions to be lawful, in light of clearly established law and the information that he [sic] possessed. Defendant Bogan, therefore, is entitled to qualified immunity.”

In the lawsuit, the plaintiff says that Bogan was still on active duty and assigned to TF South on March 14, a week after the incident. The defense’s response affirms this.

The Lansing Police Department declined to comment on Bogan’s actions and the lawsuit, and also declined to comment on whether or not she’d been reassigned.

A PDF of the full response to the lawsuit is available for review:

What’s next?

According to court records, District 215 has not yet filed a response to the complaint, but it has retained Montana & Welch as its legal representation. After filing for an extension, District 215’s deadline to file an answer is June 19.

The case was referred to a magistrate judge on June 5, according to court records. Magistrate judges handle pretrial motions and hearings in both civil and criminal proceedings, according to uscourts.gov.

Josh Bootsma
Josh Bootsma
Josh is Managing Editor at The Lansing Journal and believes in the power and purpose of community news. He covers any local topics—from village government to theatre, from business openings to migratory birds.

2 COMMENTS

  1. As a parent of school-aged children, I am increasingly concerned about the behavior I’m hearing about in our schools. It’s disheartening to hear that such conduct is leading valued teachers to retire early or leave the profession altogether. While I’m not privy to the specifics of the incident involving an officer and a student, the reported body language suggests a troubling comfort with confrontational behavior.

    My own children have shared stories that are quite alarming—tales of disrespect towards teachers and staff, ranging from verbal abuse to physical acts like shoving and throwing objects. This is not the learning environment we want for our children or the work environment we want for our teachers and school staff.

    I believe it’s crucial for the Lansing Journal to engage with our educators and shed light on their experiences to illuminate the realities of our schools. The presence of resource officers is critical for safety, ensuring a conducive environment for education.

  2. I appreciate you shedding light on this unfortunate situation. There are two points I’d like to make:

    1. Law enforcement officers are very much comfortable assaulting minors and using their badge as justification to sweep it under the rug which has been the norm unfortunately. Law enforcement, in this case, would rather justify the officers unlawful behavior then ensure this childs rights and safety.

    2. School officials would rather put their students in danger and dismiss their own protocols and policies instead of holding those accountable who violate their students rights.

    This is very alarming to say the least. In Chicago, resource officers are being removed from the schools because of their excessive force with the students.

    Although there is a benefit to having resource officers in the schools, proper training or retraining and adequate support is required to work in any environment, especially in a high school.

    Having an officer, as seen in this video, acting like she is one of the students, instead of a law enforcement officer is beyond alarming and it should also be to her employers. How does this officers behavior benefit the children? Is it professional? Is it reasonable?Is it safe?

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