The New Orleans Police Department's Public Integrity Bureau has opened an investigation after a New Orleans police officer was recorded pushing a member of the L. B. Landry High School band as the group performed during the Muses parade, an NOPD spokesperson confirmed.
Video footage of the incident, which took place Thursday evening, shows a New Orleans police officer pushing a member of the marching band mid-song, knocking him into another student. The video spread quickly across social media.
The NOPD did not comment beyond the confirmation of the investigation.
The student's mother, Tiffany Jones, was watching the parade about a mile away from where the incident took place on St. Charles Avenue, she said in an interview Sunday.
Based on the video footage and her son's account, she said the officer had his back turned to the parade and stepped backwards into her son. The officer then turned around and pushed him, she said.
Jones said her son, Brandon Mitchell, 18, heads the mellophone section for the Marching “Pride of Algiers” Band Unit, was homecoming king of the school and has numerous scholarship offers.?
"I'm furious and I'm livid," Jones said. "He's not the type of child police should be doing this to. It's band 101 to know you're not supposed to push a child playing an instrument."
She said her son's mouth was bruised and that the horn could have easily chipped his tooth.
Jones shared text messages from her son in which he said the officer backed into him before turning around and pushing him "with extreme force."
Brandon Mitchell said he and the officer had a heated exchange of words, but he was thankful he didn't react further and that his friend was there to help deescalate the situation.
He said seeing the video all over social media has left him disillusioned.?
"After I've reflected on what happened, looking at all the videos online seeing it everywhere makes me feel as if me doing what I'm supposed to do in the city of New Orleans as a student arranger/band member that it's all in vain," he wrote. "No matter what good you do in this city it's not a lot a love."
Algiers Charter Schools, which runs L. B. Landry, said in a statement that the school is "deeply disappointed" and plans to meet with NOPD.?
The statement commended the students "for their restraint and refusal to engage in negative behavior."
"Such behavior does not reflect the standards we expect from law enforcement officers, nor is it the conduct we anticipate our young students to encounter from authorities," the statement said.?