SLO County DA opts not to charge two educators accused of assaulting students

Two Central Coast educators who were accused of battering students have evaded charges following a conclusion by the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office that the crime of battery could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in either case.

One of the two school officials, Mission Prep administrator Russ Griffith, was photographed during a school lunch placing a student in a chokehold. The other educator, an Atascadero High teacher and coach, allegedly assaulted a student who was misbehaving in class.

Last November, Griffith, a former San Luis Obispo police officer, restrained a star of the Mission Prep football team in a carotid chokehold, a move generally used by law enforcement to restrain violent or combative individuals. Griffith allegedly placed the Mission Prep football player in the chokehold in response to the student using profanity.

The student did not suffer injuries during the alleged assault. San Luis Obispo police investigated the incident and forwarded a report to the district attorney’s office.

Griffith went on and off administrative leave from Mission Prep in the weeks following the incident.

Fewer details have emerged in the case of Christopher Ferree, who has coached wrestling and other sports at Atascadero High, in addition to teaching. No photos or video footage of Feree’s alleged classroom altercation have surfaced publicly.

As SLO police did with the Mission Prep case, Atascadero police investigated the alleged assault and forwarded a report to the district attorney’s office.

Prosecutors reviewed both cases concurrently because they both involved alleged misconduct by a school official in response to perceived student misbehavior, the district attorney’s office stated in a news release. Over the course of the investigation, prosecutors interviewed students and faculty, reviewed documents and conducted legal research.

The district attorney’s office opted not to file charges against Griffith or Ferree, at least in part, because witnesses provided conflicting accounts of the nature and the extent of force that the educators used. Witnesses also provided conflicting accounts of the student conduct that initiated the incidents, according to the district attorney’s office.

Additionally, California Education Code allows a school official to use physical control over a student in an amount “reasonably necessary to maintain order” or to “maintain proper and appropriate conditions conducive to learning.” The code serves as a defense against a battery charge, the DA’s Office said.

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One Comment about “SLO County DA opts not to charge two educators accused of assaulting students”

  1. CYA says:

    I find the DA’s pr-election excuse to be laughable , he has no clue as to the facts or Truth of the matter. Mission IS A Private School, you really need to fully read the Education Codes, Penal Codes, Case Laws, H & S Code and the rule of law.

    You have failed to uphold the rule of Law, you have lied to the public, mislead the public, you failed to charge this corrupt X Cop as he is a friend of yours and is listed as supporting you for DA’s race, now the same as the other educator.

    Lets not forget your failure to charge another X Cop Kevin Wadell who committed major theft while on duty of expensive parts from a high end car involved in a traffic accident. You failed to discipline Kelly Manderino for misleading a Jury in the Cowan case which was overturned due to Prosecution misconduct and she was referred to the State Bar for discipline yet you do nothing to get your house in order.

    You have become nothing more than a Political DA, I hope the people see through your antics, Judge Mike Cummins is correct you have failed the people of our community, I have been here for over 22 years and you are the first to disliked by every Judge on the bench since your arrival.

    Seeing this weeks video of you yesterday sneaking while on duty from your office to ABC Bail Bonds holding a handful of Political yard signs to get posted for your re-election and your crude attempt to get your deputy Cadena elected to replace a good honest and moral Judge who was appointed to the bench. You should be representing the people and not doing politics while on duty for the people.

    We are amazed at your brazen disregard for the rule of law, you should have done your job and allowed a Jury to decide if Russ Griffith is guilty which the facts clearly should “Child Abuse”, Unlawful Battery” use of unreasonable force on of all people a minor child…

    Judge Mike Cummings will be getting our votes we as a family have more Law Enforcement experience than you are old x 2. Shame on you as many of your Deputies have said albeit behind your back they should have voted for Tim Covello for DA. Then you have your staff going across the street to Aisuru Sushi Restaurant or once called Shins, to tell the staff unless they the (Restaurant) does not remove the sign in the window supporting Illan Funke-Bilu for judge then the staff at the DA’s office will no longer eat there.

    This is a Nation of Freedom and rights to support and vote for whom ever we want and your offices attempt to interfere is appalling, I’m glad they put the sign back up and do NOT want your little business.

    What you have done as a member of the Trump Nuts is abused your office the rule of law and corrupted a system of Justice. You are the same person who has the biggest failed prosecution record in the History of SLO, Gerry Shea former DA and Barry LaBarbera former DA and now Judge all do NOT support you at all.

    Now we all know why, you have misused your office failed the people and are NOT worthy of being re-elected.

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