Nedra Miller will be the first to tell you her 17-year-old son can act like a child and be a bit rebellious. But that’s not what she’s upset about.
What angers her is the behavior of two adults tasked with monitoring him, one of whom is a law enforcement officer Miller said was out of line when he twice threatened to shoot her son as he tried to leave the River Ridge High School campus in New Port Richey.
Miller obtained bodycam footage of the December incident from the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and posted it to Facebook last week, where it keeps racking up views and comments from people debating how it all went down and who was more responsible, the child or the adults who were supposed to be in charge.
“All three were acting like children and all three are wrong," Miller said. “But the cop more so. He’s just flat out not okay to be around children. I was shocked that an officer of the law working with children would speak to my son that way.”
The video starts as the incident is already in progress. Miller’s son, William Miller, is in a pickup, trying to exit the student lot. A school resource officer with the Sheriff’s Office and Cindy Bond, a River Ridge discipline assistant, are blocking the exit lane.
The three argue over whether William can leave the campus. He says he has permission, they say he is truant. The situation escalates quickly, however, when the deputy threatens to shoot William about 16 seconds in.
“You’re gonna get shot you come another f---ing foot closer to me,” he said as William tried to maneuver the truck around Bond, the officer and a car behind him. “You run into me, you’ll get f---ing shot.”
They continue to argue as the other vehicle exits the lot through the entrance lane. The deputy and Bond tell William he is truant, but he says he has a legitimate reason to be leaving. According to his mother, she let the school know weeks in advance that William had an orthodontist appointment in Trinity.
She said he wasn’t supposed to be near campus that day but decided to drop a friend off and didn’t think there would be an issue. Since his mother had already told the school he had the appointment, he didn’t think he needed to give any more excuses and didn’t want to bother his mother, a nurse, while she was at work.
As the video continues, the stalemate goes on without either side budging. William continues to say he has permission to leave, but is told he’ll be suspended for truancy, defying authority and profanity. Though he doesn’t curse in the video, Bond, a white woman, uses a racial slur for a black person to describe his language.
William eventually parked the car and went inside, but he was suspended from Dec. 17 until Jan. 9, then was expelled from the school and sent to the Harry Schwettman Education Center, which, according to the school’s website, is a “voluntary educational program the district provides for students who have violated School Board policy, been recommended for expulsion or have a behavior pattern which has not been improved by a continuum of positive behavior and academic intervention strategies.”
The Pasco County School District wouldn’t comment on disciplinary action taken against William, but his mother said he’s not allowed to attend prom with his girlfriend, attend sporting events with friends or watch any of his friends graduate.
According to Linda Cobbe, spokeswoman for Pasco Schools, Bond met with the principal to discuss what was done properly and what could have been done better, but the district is not investigating the incident. Amanda Hunter, a Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, said there is an internal investigation into the actions of the officer, but since there is no criminal complaint, he is still actively working at the school.
Hunter said the officer’s name is being withheld because “per the Law Enforcement Officer’s bill of rights, the identities of deputies in internal investigations cannot be disclosed.”
Nedra Miller has filed for a hearing to appeal the district’s decision and wants Bond and the officer held accountable.
“I just feel like if they were all acting like children and my son received that level of discipline, they should, too," she said. “They should both be removed from their jobs.”