The trial of a former Illinois math teacher accused of battery against a student last year started Monday, with prosecutors playing a security tape that shows Aaron Oetting twice slamming the 15-year-old Guilford High School sophomore into hallway lockers, the Rockford Register Star reports.
In the video, which contains no sound, the two can be seen scuffling from one side of lockers to the other before eventually falling to the floor, where the student hit his head and suffered a concussion and seizure.
According to WREX, Winnebago County Assistant State Attorney Pamela Wells said Oetting threw the boy to the ground in a sort of body slam. Defense lawyers in their opening statement, however, said that the boy had been exhibiting hostile behavior toward teachers over using his phone just minutes before coming into contact with Oetting.
The student allegedly demanded, “give me back my mother [expletive] phone," according to lead defense lawyer Daniel Hoffman. He was then seen walking down the hallway threatening, “I want to beat someone's a--,” WTVO reports.
A short while later, Oetting and the student met in the hallway and the teacher allegedly asked him to put his phone away.
"I'm not putting my [expletive] phone away," Hoffman said the sophomore told Oetting.
In the security video, it is not clear if the student is holding a cell phone.
Wells claimed that the victim attempted to walk away, but Oetting pursued.
"[The 15-year-old student] gets away from Mr. Oetting and starts to go down the hallway, away from Oetting," she said. "And Mr. Oetting follows him."
According to WREX, Oetting faces three counts of aggravated battery, two counts of reckless conduct and one count of battery. He has pleaded not guilty.
Assistant Principal Patrick Abrahamson testified that in the immediate aftermath of the incident, Oetting expressed regret about how he had handled the situation, the Rockford Register Star reports.