Spokane Public Schools has placed a resource officer on paid leave following outcry over his handling of a fight at Ferris High School.
Officer Shawn Audie, a former Spokane County sheriff’s deputy, was briefly assigned to North Central High School after the Jan. 24 incident at Ferris. A video that surfaced online showed Audie trying to detain a student and pressing his forearm into the student’s neck.
District spokesman Brian Coddington said Monday that Audie is on leave while the district looks into prior allegations of excessive force.
Confrontations involving Audie have prompted three federal lawsuits, including a case in which a man died after Audie placed him in a chokehold. Audie was about to be fired when he resigned from the sheriff’s office last year amid an internal investigation into another complaint of excessive violence.
The school district spoke with Audie’s supervisor at the sheriff’s department during its vetting of Audie’s application. Coddington said Friday that Audie’s “criminal background check didn’t turn up the civil cases.” A quick internet search would have turned up numerous news articles about those cases.
Coddington said three Ferris staff members were hurt during the Jan. 24 incident, including Audie, a teacher and a janitor. Each sought medical attention on their own, and none was transported to a hospital, he said.
Coddington said he couldn’t elaborate on the nature of the those injuries without discussing student conduct and violating confidentiality laws.