San Diego

Student Detained at Helix HS Speaks for First Time

The teenager was under suspension but was on campus anyway for unknown reasons

A teenager whose detention by a school resource officer sparked protests by Helix Charter High School students said Tuesday she felt helpless when she was handcuffed and pushed to the ground.

Scott Wulfing, a 9-year veteran of the La Mesa Police Department, handcuffed 17-year-old Brianna Bell and was in the process of removing her from campus when Bell appeared to pull away from the officer.

Video shared through Snapchat shows the high school senior “being taken to the ground” after attempting to break free from Wulfing, according to La Mesa Police Department Lt. Chad Bell.

Bell said the teenager, who was under suspension but was on campus for unknown reasons, was asked twice to leave school ground but refused.

On Tuesday, Bell spoke publically for the first time.

“When this took place I felt helpless and like my voice was not being heard,” Bell said.

"This happens all the time. My situation as horrific as it is, is not unique. I feel powerless that this happens all the time," she said. 

When asked if she was carrying pepper spray on the day she was detained, Bell said she could not talk about what led to her removal from campus.

Currently back at school, she said she wants to use her newfound attention to keep the pressure on police to build better relations with the community and students.

“We're anti-police brutality, not police,” she said. “So we want there to be a relationship, not saying we don’t want police anywhere. We want there to be a restorative relationship. We want there to be a relationship.”

Bell said the use of force was used “to prevent the student from escaping.”

Wulfing was reassigned to administrative duties while the incident is under investigation.

An attorney for Bell's family told NBC 7 last month that his clients are just looking for the truth. 

"Right now we are in the fact-finding stage of this," the family's attorney Troy Owens told NBC 7. "This definitely isn’t a family that is hungry for money or out for any publicity or anything; they have not even taken part in the public displays that have gone on. Right now we’re all trying to get to the bottom, trying to get to the truth."

Helix Charter High School is located on University Avenue and is part of the Grossmont Union High School District.

Kevin Osborn, Executive Director of Helix Charter High School, has said matters involving student discipline are confidential. 

"We want to assure the community that actions taken by the School are guided by what is lawful and in the best interests of Helix Charter High School students, staff, and school community," Obsorn said last month. 

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