A New Mexico police officer has resigned after using excessive force to apprehend an 11-year-old Black girl during an altercation at school.

Zachary Christensen of the Farmington Police Department was called to Mesa View Middle School to resolve a dispute between a young girl and the principal, who accused the student of assaulting him. 

“You can’t push him out of the way,” the officer told the student. He then said: “Okay, I’ve had enough of this.”

Body camera footage was recently released showing Christenen pulling the girl’s backpack off her shoulder and shoving her against the wall. He then wrestled the middle schooler to the ground, as she repeatedly told the officer that he was hurting her. 

KOB4 reports that during the incident, a school administrator repeatedly told Christensen to get off the student. 

“Officer Christensen – she is not a threat to yourself or others at this moment,” the school employee said. The officer then responded: “No, she is!”

In Christensen’s report afterward, he wrote: “She was very strong, stronger than I was.”

According to reports, the girl sustained a concussion, as well as arm and shoulder pain, from the violent interaction. The student reportedly has a history of behavioral issues at school. She was not arrested and was later picked up from school by her mother. 

Christensen’s behavior rocked the Farmington police force. 

“That’s not our standards. That’s not who we are,” said Farmington Police Chief Steven Hebbe. 

“There’s no doubt about it. As a chief you know darn well that this is a failure for us and you know it starts with the chief and you try and open the doors and talk about it.”

The student’s family has hired a lawyer to represent them in the matter. 

“She’s an 11-year-old girl and it’s a shock to the system to see that this is a thing that can occur at a school by a certified peace officer,” Attorney Mark Curnutt said. 

While initial legal action has been taken against the city of Farmington and the school, Christensen has been placed on administrative leave, with a case pending to determine if criminal charges will be filed.