District attorney investigating alleged assault between Onslow County resource officer, two students

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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — District Attorney Ernie Lee said he and his office are investigating an incident that happened earlier this week involving an Onslow County Sheriff’s Office deputy and two Swansboro High School students.

The incident involves an alleged assault involving two girls and the deputy, who is a resource officer at the school. Lee issued a press release Thursday evening concerning the incident.

“On the afternoon of December 2, 2021, I was requested by the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office to review an incident that occurred at Swansboro High School in which a school resource officer responded to an assault in progress.  The alleged assault involved two female students.  I have requested that the Sheriff’s Office provide to me all videos, reports, and statements.  Upon review of the facts and circumstances of this investigation, I will make a determination as to what action should be taken as a result of the investigation.” 

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On Friday, Lee said in another statement that he had received “witness statements, law enforcement reports and a Swansboro High video of the incident.” He also said additional witness statements will be forthcoming from the sheriff’s office.

“Upon review of the facts and circumstances of this investigation, I will make a determination as to what action should be taken as a result of the investigation,” Lee said in the statement.

Jazaria Nixon said she punched another student after the two exchanged words. She claims the other student called her racial slurs, which led up to the incident. She said she told the deputy not to touch her or put his hands on her.

Nixon, 15, was able to record part of the incident on her phone as it was happening.

“I started panicking because I can’t breathe. So I’m just like yelling like, get off me. You’re too big. I can’t breathe,” Nixon said.

The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement Friday morning saying a school administrator tried to step in “by separating the parties and to get the assaultive and disruptive student to come to the school office in order to calm the situation.” When that didn’t work, “the school resource officer attempted to verbally de-escalate the situation, but the assaultive and disruptive student continued her aggressive behavior and had to be taken in custody.”

The Sheriff’s Office also said a review of a video clip of the incident cleared the resource officer. The full statement from the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office reads:

“There was an incident at Swansboro High school on December 1, 2021, where one student (juvenile) assaulted and battered another student (also a juvenile).  The school administration tried to intervene by separating the parties and to get the assaultive and disruptive student to come to the school office in order to calm the situation, but the assaultive and disruptive juvenile resisted, loudly used foul language and refused to comply.  The school administration called the school resource officer and asked for assistance.  The school resource officer attempted to verbally de-escalate the situation, but the assaultive and disruptive student continued her aggressive behavior and had to be taken in custody.

“A school video clip was reviewed by the supervisors of the school resource officer and determined no fault on the part of the school resource officer.  The command staff of the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office is impartial and does not take sides.

“The matter is still under investigation”

Onslow County Schools also issued a press release Friday on the incident:

“The situation you have asked about involved an altercation between two students in the cafeteria at Swansboro High School. The incident was over very quickly – the principal immediately separated the students and there was no further interaction between them. The resource officer was there immediately, as well, and took steps to de-escalate the situation further. As this incident is still under investigation by law enforcement, it would not be appropriate for any further comment.

“School resource officers are trained by their respective law enforcement agencies, and I cannot speak to the de-escalation training they may have received. It may be better to reach out to the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office or Jacksonville Police Department for information on the training provided their officers. 

“Behavior management techniques are a common component of both teacher and school administrator preparation programs. Common strategies employed by school staff would include things such as proactively addressing issues by developing relationships with students, implementing supervision processes, and ongoing development of situational awareness – being “in tune” with what is happening in their surroundings.

“Unless it is a situation where a consequence given is required by state law, we will not comment on individual student discipline, except to say that consequences were administered in accordance with the school’s established discipline procedures.”

The family said it still wants answers.

“When I watched the video, like literally, it brought tears to my eyes because I’m like, this is like something that I’m watching on or something I’ve seen on TV that happens somewhere else across the country,” said Ebony Nixon, Jazaria’s aunt.

Nixon said she received a five-day suspension.

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