MELBOURNE, Fla. (December 12, 2019) – As reported in an online news article published by www.mynews13.com, 10 students and one adult woman were arrested on various charges following a fight at a Florida high school. The fight started between two girls and quickly escalated into a large brawl.
According to local police, officers were attempting to break up a fistfight between two female students when one of the students assaulted a school resource officer. Shortly after that, other students began fighting. Police believe that the other students were friends/associates of the two girls that were fighting. Four separate law enforcement agencies worked collectively to alleviate the situation at the high school.
The 10 students involved in the brawl were arrested on various criminal charges, which include, but may not be limited to, resisting arrest, disrupting school functions, and battery on a law enforcement officer. One adult, a female parent, was also arrested for failing to leave the high school property. Additional students and parents present at the scene were released by police. Reports indicate that nobody was injured from the fight.
Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer Under Florida Law
When crimes involve harm to public officials and law enforcement officers, the penalties for conviction of the crimes they have allegedly committed are often enhanced from the same crimes that do not involve harm to public officials or law enforcement officers. Under Florida Statute Section 784.07, a person may be charged with battery on a law enforcement officer if he or she unlawfully touches any law enforcement officer. A conviction carries potential jail time of up to five years, and the crime is aggressively prosecuted. As such, even individuals with no criminal history may find themselves in jail for a substantial amount of time.
Prosecutors must prove all elements of the crime of battery on a law enforcement officer to seek conviction of an individual. Such elements of the crime include the following:
- The accused individual intentionally touches, strikes, or causes bodily harm to a law enforcement officer against the officer’s will.
- The accused individual has knowledge that the alleged victim is a law enforcement officer; and
- The law enforcement officer was engaged in the lawful performance of his/her duties at the time of the alleged battery.
Under the statute, the term “law enforcement officer” encompasses a large group of professionals, including the following:
- Police officers;
- Correctional officers;
- Correctional probation officers;
- Auxiliary law enforcement officers;
- Auxiliary correctional officers;
- County probation officers;
- Employees or agents of the Department of Corrections who provides services to inmates;
- Officer of the Florida Commission on Offender Review;
- Federal law enforcement officers;
- Law enforcement personnel of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission;
- Law enforcement personnel of the Florida Commission on Offender Review;
- Law enforcement personnel of the Department of Environmental Protection; and
- Law enforcement personnel of the Department of Law Enforcement.
Florida law also considers the following professionals to be protected and on the same footing as law enforcement officers:
- Public transit employees or agents;
- Emergency medical care providers; and
- Other specified officers.