Cumberland County deputy cleared of wrongdoing in pepper spraying of high schooler

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said a deputy has been cleared of any wrongdoing after he pepper sprayed a student at Seventy First High School on Feb. 6.

The school resource officer, later identified as Deputy Tajaye Murray, used the pepper spray when a 16-year-old boy intervened in the deputy’s attempt to prevent an altercation between two female students from turning into a fight in the bus parking lot, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said.

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“A careful review of the incident, including the entirety of the security video recording and other materials obtained in the course of this investigation, did not show any improper conduct or procedure on the part of Deputy Murray,” the sheriff’s office said in a release. “The arrest of the student was reasonable and lawful. The minimal use of force (spray) was within the contours of the law as well as the general orders and policies and procedures of the law enforcement agency.”

Video of the incident shows the deputy grappling with the boy with one hand while spraying him the face with pepper spray with the other.

No other students were involved. Another deputy at the scene didn’t intervene because of concerns that the crowd might try to intervene or another fight might break out somewhere else, Swain said.

The 16-year-old is facing a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge and a charge of resisting a public officer.

Deputies said there were no injuries.



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