Civil Liberties

What's Worse for This Teen's Health: Smoking an E-Cig, or Getting Tackled, Arrested, and Charged?

Watch the video and decide for yourself.


James Craft

Sixteen-year-old James Craft of Mentor, Ohio, will be charged with persistent disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and a tobacco violation after the student was shoved and tackled by a school resources officer at Mentor High School.

Video footage of the incident suggests—to my eyes, at least—that the officer didn't have any reason to knock the teen on the ground, who was caught with an e-cigarette on school property.

According to

Police said Craft ignored instruction from the principal to hand over his e-cigarette because the smoking devices are not allowed on school property. That's when the school resource officer got involved.

According to police, Craft also refused to give up his vape-pen to the officer. Police said he then became verbally abusive and attempted to push the officer out of the way to get on the school bus. 

It's impossible to tell whether Craft was "verbally abusive"—or what that even means—though he does appear to be arguing with the officer. Did he "attempt to push the officer out of the way"? He's blocked from view in the video for a single second in which that might have happened, but it must have been a pretty slight push. The ensuing assault doesn't seem justified to me.

There was also some confusion over whether the teen had been suspended. His mother told local reporters that administrators had suspended him for 10 days, but the school told me that simply wasn't true; Craft is not suspended, and was never suspended, according to a spokesperson for Mentor High.

The district is investigating the incident, and the officer will be on leave from the school until a determination is made about whether his actions were appropriate.

As for the charges against Craft: They are likely to do him a lot more harm than a few puffs from an e-cig. 

Watch the video here.