Hempstead woman who choked out teacher sentenced

A Hempstead woman who put her daughter's teacher in a chokehold was sentenced to six months in jail and five years of probation Friday. Annika

Annika McKenzie was convicted in January of attacking her daughter's math teacher Catherine Engelhardt in a school hallway. Video of the 2015 incident shows McKenzie before she punched and choked the middle school teacher. It also shows Engelhardt on the ground inside Schultz Middle School.

Annika McKenzie was convicted in January of attacking her daughter's math teacher Catherine Engelhardt in a school hallway. Video of the 2015 incident shows McKenzie before she punched and choked the middle school teacher. It also shows Engelhardt on the ground inside Schultz Middle School. (3/10/17)

MINEOLA - A Hempstead mother was sentenced today to six months behind bars for assaulting her daughter's teacher.

In 2015, Annika McKenzie punched and choked Schultz Middle School math teacher Catherine Engelhardt until she passed out.

McKenzie’s attorney claims Engelhardt was at fault for pushing McKenzie's 12-year-old daughter into a wall with a lacrosse stick during a confrontation with a group of students. Surveillance video does not show that, and it's something Engelhardt denies.

McKenzie got emotional while speaking to the judge today and apologized for her actions. Her attorney says she would have apologized directly to Engelhardt but can't because of an order of protection.

“She's really sorry about the situation,” says attorney Donald Rollock. “She wished it would have been handled differently. She's a good person … she made a mistake.”

In a statement, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said McKenzie "walked into a middle school and violently assaulted a teacher in front of students.”

“Children need a safe and peaceful environment in which to learn,” the statement said. “This sentence is a reminder that we cannot and will not tolerate violence against teachers or children in our schools."

Rollock filed a notice of appeal today because he says there's a "multitude of legal issues that need to be reviewed."

McKenzie received five years’ probation as part of her sentence.

A mistrial had been declared in May after jurors found McKenzie not guilty of criminal trespassing but were deadlocked on other charges including harassment and assault.

 

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