Burgess grabbed the girl from behind and placed her in a chokehold, gripping her “so tightly” that she went limp in his arms, police said.
Burgess could not immediately be reached for comment.
The video shows two students fighting outside of the school as classmates scream and shoot video on cellphones. Two adult men appear to be attempting to break them up.
As the 15-year-old girl slumps to the ground, someone yells, “She out! She out! She out!”
The girl’s mother, Yalonda Nesmith, told The Washington Post on Friday that she does not condone fighting, but she thinks the assistant principal went too far in restraining her daughter.
“This is no longer about the fight,” she said. “It’s about how he handled my daughter.”
Nesmith said that about lunchtime on Monday she got a phone call telling her that her daughter had been in a fight and that the assistant principal had put her in a chokehold.
Moments later, Nesmith said, someone from the school called and said Burgess wanted to speak with her. She said he did not mention his purported part in the altercation, and when she asked him about it, he denied it.
Later that evening, she said, she saw the footage.
“It hurt to see my daughter go limp in the video,” Nesmith said, adding: “Her brain wasn’t getting any blood, so her body did what it had to do — and she passed out.”
Nesmith said she took her daughter to a hospital because the girl could not turn her head without pain. Police said investigators are waiting for the medical records.
On Tuesday, Nesmith said, she went to the school and talked to the assistant principal again, confronting him about the accusations that he had choked her daughter.
“I wanted answers,” she said. “I wanted to see if he’d tell the truth.”
Nesmith said he lied about it again — so she reported it to police.
An officer wrote in the incident report that he watched the video, observing Burgess “place the female juvenile in a chokehold” and then observing “her passing out.”
After viewing the video, Judge William Driggers at the Williamsburg County Magistrates Office agreed that Kingstree police had enough evidence to issue an arrest warrant for assault, according to the incident report.
An officer met Tuesday with Burgess and school administrators about the incident and told them that the victim intended to press charges, according to the report.
Shortly after, authorities said, the police officer got a call from the judge, telling the officer to issue a “courtesy summons” instead of a warrant for Burgess’s arrest.
The officer said that when he asked why, the judge asked him whether he thought Burgess was a danger to the community and, therefore, needed to be arrested.
“Yes,” the officer said he told him, according to the incident report, “because he choked a 15-year-old girl till she passed out.” But he said the judge still ordered him to issue the courtesy summons, according to the report.
Driggers, the judge, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The county magistrates office would not release any information on the case.
A spokeswoman for the Williamsburg County School District said administrators are investigating the incident.
“We have several programs in place to assist our students in resolving conflicts without physical contact,” the district said in a statement. “Our rehabilitative behavioral health specialists, intervention specialists, mental health counselors (on-site) and guidance counselors work closely with students to address numerous issues throughout the year to include conflict resolution.
“Annually, counselors and administrators participate in crisis non-violence technique training that provides them with the knowledge needed during physical altercations.”
Nesmith said that her daughter, a sophomore, was suspended from school for five days for fighting and that she wants the assistant principal to be punished as well.
“She’s crying every day. She’s hurt,” she said about her daughter, adding: “It hurts me because I’m a mother fighting for my child.”
Nesmith said it’s never okay to “manhandle” a 15-year-old girl.
“I want to see him arrested,” she said about Burgess. “I want to see him serve time for what he’s done. I want to see justice served.”