Update April 13, 2016
"The [San Antonio Independent School] District has made the decision to terminate the employment of Officer Joshua Kehm, effective immediately," a press release obtained by People magazine states.
The Short of It
A video that caught a school police officer slamming a student to the ground is sparking public outrage.
Officer Joshua Kehn is under investigation because a cell phone video caught him body slamming 12-year-old student Janissa Valdez face first into the sidewalk.
The video, which went viral after being posted online, is about 30 seconds long and shows the officer lifting the sixth-grader from behind. As Janissa struggles, the officer slams her into a brick sidewalk, pins her hands behind her back as she lies motionless, then lifts her to her feet and takes her away.
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It's a shocking clip, and not surprisingly, parents in the community are now calling for the officer to be fired. While the district investigates what led up to the incident, they have put Kehn on paid administrative leave.
Janissa's mom, Gloria, told Good Morning America that her daughter has been bullied since the beginning of the school year, and she was having a conversation with a friend of one of the bullies when the officer grabbed her from behind and slammed her to the ground.
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"I was upset. ... I was angry because I couldn't believe he had done that to her. And then she told me, 'Mom, I wasn't fighting. Why did he do that,'" Gloria said. "She's my daughter, and I just want justice for her."
I don't blame her. I have an eighth-grade daughter, and this whole thing is just shocking to me. I can't even let myself imagine what I would be feeling if that was my daughter in the video.
Luckily, Janissa is okay. Her father told the New York Times that she was taken to a hospital for X-rays, but she wasn't admitted for treatment. But judging from the way her face hit the concrete, things could've gone very differently. This officer could have intervened in a million other ways.
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The school district spokesperson, Leslie Price, told Good Morning America that the video was very concerning and the district is hoping to have the investigation completed in a few days.
"We will not tolerate excessive force in this district," she said. "But I can also say we need to find out all the details as to what occurred."
That's all well and good, but in my opinion, no matter what led up to the encounter, Kehn's actions are clearly unethical and unwarranted, and this guy has no business working in a place where he is surrounded by children.