Officer of the Year Given Paid Time off for Tripping Children


(KHOU) GEORGETOWN, Texas — The Vandegrift girls soccer team claimed the 4A title after beating Wylie East this weekend.

It’s the first time any soccer program from the Austin area has won the state championship but that’s not the only thing parents and students are talking about days after. Many are outraged after witnessing a Georgetown police officer tripping and pushing students as they rushed the field to celebrate.

Police say video footage showed Officer George Bermudez tripping one person, attempting to trip another, physically restraining another person and shoving a fourth person as people leaped from the stands after Vandegrift High School won the state championship Saturday.

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“These kids were excited, they wanted to celebrate,” said parent Karen Morse. Morse’s daughter is a junior on the team. “It was so exciting. In fact, it was so exciting, I jumped up and almost blacked out and hit the woman in front of me!”

Karen Morse watched as her daughter’s hard work paid off but something else on the field also caught her attention.

“All the kids are jumping over, friends, boyfriends, everybody’s just running. Then I see this police officer just sticking out his leg,” she described.

In the video, you see a student hit the ground then limp away. Bermudez then sticks out his leg in an attempt to trip a girl, then grabs another student and pushes him away and then another girl is pushed to the ground.

“They just wanted to, you know, go and celebrate with the girls basically and have a good time,” said sophomore Rohan Gupta. “We’re just kids running on to a field to celebrate our team and it was kind of too much. It was kind of a cheap shot going for his legs,” he said.

Gupta also caught it on his phone and uploaded this video to YouTube.

“We’ve been inundated all day with not only media but concerned parents, not only from Central Texas/Georgetown but actually across the nation,” said Georgetown Police Captain Roland Waits.

Capt. Waits said last year they named Officer Bermudez Officer of the Year, now he’s under investigation for misconduct.

“So naturally this is very alarming and concerning to us,” he explained.

“It wasn’t like they were rowdy. They were just celebrating,” said parent Lori Digesualda. “I hope that this doesn’t overshadow all of the hard work and the dedication that the team, parents and coaches put in.”

It was a sweet victory, turned sour. Now these parents have just one question: What was the wrong doing?

Bermudez has been with the Georgetown Police Department since 2005, and he is assigned to the Community Resources Unit. He’s now on paid administrative leave.

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