Local Teacher's Run-In With Homeland Security Creates Insecurities
A local school employee said a rough run-in with
a couple of Homeland Security officers has left him with a strong sense
"I would like to treat people the way I would want to be treated, and yesterday I wasn't treated that way," Pickett said.
Pickett has been working at Englewood for two years, and his principal and colleagues told Channel 4 they have never met a harder worker or nicer guy.
"He's well loved by everyone because he's willing to do anything to help children," said the Englewood Elementary Principal Gail Brinson.
However, Tuesday afternoon Pickett's niceness turned to anger, disappointment, and betrayal when, as Pickett was directing bus traffic, he said he was handcuffed and roughed up and humiliated by the very people that were supposed to protect him.
"I walked up to him and said, 'Sir, you need to move.' That's when he said 'I'm a police officer. I'm with Homeland Security ... I'll move it when I want to.' That's when he started grabbing me on my arm," Pickett said.
However, Homeland Security tells a different story.
The department said the only reason the officers were at the school was because they pulled over to look at a map.
The department also said it's looking into what happened, and that Pickett's version is wrong. It claims he was antagonizing the officers.
Several people were outside of the school, watching the incident take place, and those witnesses agree with Pickett's story.
"Mr. Pickett asked the guy blocking the bus loading zone to move, and the guy told him he would move his car when he got ready to move it," said Englewood coach Alton Jackson.
"At that point I intervened and I went up to the gentleman and said, 'Mr. Pickett is an employee here,' and they said that didn't matter," said Englewood media specialist, Terri Dreisonstok.
"'We're with Homeland Security,' and on and on they went, and pretty soon, before you know it, he's handcuffed and slammed against a car," Brinson said. "All the children are watching, they're all upset."
After about 30 minutes, the men released Pickett.
"The part that really upsets me is all these students were watching, and that and it isn't good," Jackson said.
Pickett said he plans to sue.
"You now you hear these stories everyday and say, 'This will never happen to me,' but yesterday it happened to me," Pickett said.
"If this is Homeland Security, I think we ought to be a little afraid," Brinson said.
The central office of Homeland Security contacted Channel 4 about the incident and stated that it considers all allegations seriously and the matter has been referred to a neutral investigative entity.
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