OAKLAND (BCN) — A judge ruled today that prosecutors produced sufficient evidence to have a former security guard at Oakland High School stand trial on a felony charge of inflicting corporal injury to a child for allegedly attacking a wheelchair-bound student.
At the end of a one-day preliminary hearing, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Joan Cartwright ordered 23-year-old Marchell Mitchell to return to court on Aug. 29 to be arraigned and to have a trial date set.
The charge against Mitchell stems from an incident at about 9 a.m. on May 9 in which he allegedly handcuffed, punched and dumped freshman Francisco Martinez, who has cerebral palsy, out of his wheelchair.
According to Oakland Unified School District spokesman Troy Flint, the incident occurred when Martinez and several other students were lingering in the hallway and he either didn’t respond to an order to go to class or was slow to respond.
Flint said a school surveillance video shows Mitchell taking the handles of Martinez’s wheelchair and pushing him toward his class but he said Martinez objected because people who use wheelchairs consider them an
extension of their bodies and often feel violated when someone else pushes them.
Martinez tried to slap Mitchell’s hand away so the security guard handcuffed him and continued to push his wheelchair, at which point Martinez spat in his face, according to Flint.
Mitchell then allegedly struck Martinez several times before dumping him from his wheelchair onto the floor. At that point another security officer intervened to restrain Mitchell, Flint said.
Mitchell was arrested by an Oakland schools police officer and was fired the same day as the incident, Flint said.
Mitchell was hired by the school district last November as a substitute security officer and had been working regularly at Oakland High School before the incident, Flint said.
Martinez was taken to a hospital to be treated for injuries he suffered during the incident but he recovered and later returned to school.
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