Teen who body-slammed classmate claims self-defense

PINECREST, FLA. (WSVN) - A teenager who body-slammed his classmate to end a fight at a Pinecrest high school claims he acted in self-defense.

Cellphone video of the fight inside a classroom at Miami Palmetto Senior High School showed 15-year-old Sidrick Berry and an unidentified classmate punching each other in the head as other students and their teacher stood by watching. The 49-second clip ends with Berry lifting the other student up, slamming him to the ground and walking away.

Sidrick, a sophomore, told 7News that the other student had bullied him that day.

“I told him I wasn’t in the mood to play today,” Sidrick said. “I pushed him; he pushed me back.”

Asked by 7News what he would tell someone who might say there is no excuse for fighting, Sidrick said, “It was self-defense. People out there bully us about the fact that we’re not wealthy and they are, because they come from a different neighborhood.”

RElATED: Parents shocked by video of fight at Miami Palmetto High School 

Sidrick and the other student have been suspended for 10 days.

Sidrick’s mother, Ericka Jackson, said there is a bigger issue at hand.

“They tend to pick on the kids that come from poorer neighborhoods,” she said, “They tell them, ‘You can’t afford this’ or, ‘My school shirt costs more than everything you have on. You been wearing the same thing. You’re dirty.'”

Jackson and her son live in Perrine and Sidrick goes to Miami Palmetto Senior High, which is in Pinecrest.

“As a parent I do not condone violence,” she said. “I don’t want my child fighting, and actually, that was the first time he has ever had a physical altercation with someone, and when I look at it, it’s very shocking, but you have to defend yourself.”

Miami-Dade Public Schools has not released the name of the other student involved, so 7News was unable to reach out to him for comment.

In a statement, Miami-Dade Public Schools spokesperson Daisy Gonzalez-Diego said, “While the teacher immediately requested assistance through the classroom’s emergency call button, we are investigating the incident to determine if every reasonable intervention was implemented.”

The district has not commented on whether the fight was racially motivated.

There have been no criminal charges in the case. Sidrick’s family has hired criminal defense attorney Yehuda Bruck, who said this is a clear case of self-defense.

“Clearly, once he subdues the person, he moves away and takes himself out of the fight,” Bruck said. “That is the classic tell-tale sign of self-defense.”

Jackson worries that the fight will follow her son.

“If they Google him, they’re going to Google and see that tape of my child slamming someone where, actually, he’s defending himself from being hurt,” Jackson said. “And I don’t want that for him. I just want him to be given the opportunity to grow and get his education.”

Copyright 2017 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.