Monday, April 11, 2016

 

San Antonio schools fire police officer accused of body-slamming student

Officer Joshua Kehm is fired after video showed him body-slamming a student.

"We want to be clear that we will not tolerate this behavior," official says.

A school police officer who slammed a middle-school student to the ground has been fired.

The incident at Rhodes Middle School in San Antonio late last month was captured on cell phone video.

"We understand that situations can sometimes escalate to the point of requiring a physical response; however, in this situation we believe that the extent of the response was absolutely unwarranted," said San Antonio Independent School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez.
"Additionally, the officer's report was inconsistent with the video and it was also delayed, which is not in accordance with the general operating procedures of the police department. We want to be clear that we will not tolerate this behavior," Martinez said.
In the video, Officer Joshua Kehm is seen lifting the student into the air and throwing her to the ground.
She lies motionless as he handcuffs her. Some students shout; others laugh as she is escorted away.

Gloria Valdez told WOAI/KABB that her 12-year-old daughter is the girl shown in the video.

"You could just hear where she hits the ground. And it's nothing but concrete, cement," she said. "She wasn't moving. She was just knocked out. I wanted answers, and nobody could give me answers."
Kehm did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
This wasn't the first time school police officers have been accused of using excessive force.

Last year, a police officer working at a South Carolina school was fired after video circulated on social media showing him violently removing a student from her desk.

That video sparked widespread outrage and questions about what role police should play in schools. At the time, the officer's attorney defended him, saying his actions were justified.

Last month, the Baltimore school system's top cop and two others officers were placed on administrative leave after the release of a cell phone video showing one of the officers slapping and kicking a young man. Now the officers are facing assault charges in the case.

Martinez said the San Antonio school district's investigation of the incident will continue and help decide if additional actions should be taken in response to what happened.
"We know that this incident does not define our district police department, which is dedicated to serving and protecting our school community," he said. "We all want to make sure this kind of incident does not occur again, and we will seek to identify areas where improvement may be needed."

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