School resource officer Joshua Kehm has been put on paid leave while officials investigate to determine if the fact that he body-slammed a 12-year-old girl is considered excessive force.
The incident occurred at Rhodes Middle School last week in San Antonio, Texas. The officer intervened after two female students became verbally aggressive toward each other.
The video, which was posted to YouTube on Tuesday, shows the officer struggling to restrain a female student, identified by her mother as 12-year-old Janissa Valdez, as other students stand on either side of the pathway, some frowning, others smiling and laughing, using cellphones to record the incident. Some students can be heard urging the girl to “chill,” then the officer suddenly throws her down.
Several students’ startled exclamations can be heard and then there’s silence as he handcuffs her while she’s on the ground. He then helps her get on her feet and walks her away.
One student asks repeatedly whether the girl is OK, reaching out to touch her shoulder. Crying can be heard.
“I guess we’re still both kind of shocked,” said Janissa’s mother, Gloria Valdez. “We still can’t believe it happened.”
Kehm was put on paid administrative leave, Price said, and the administration as well as the district’s police department are investigating.
“This video is very concerning, and we are working to get all of the details,” Price said. “We certainly want to understand what all occurred, and we are not going to tolerate excessive force in our district.”
Gloria Valdez said her daughter initially had swelling on her upper right temple but that it has since gone away. The mother said her daughter has had previous encounters with the other student. Asked whether he daughter had been in fights before, Gloria Valdez answered, “She has. I won’t lie.
“She had been bullied at the beginning of the school year,” the mother said. “I talked to a counselor, the vice principal and principal, and they said they’d look into it. Finally, the other student started attacking her and got into a fight, and it led to my daughter getting suspended (for three days).
“Supposedly the other little girl wanted to argue with my daughter, but I honestly don’t know the reason why,” she added. “I told her she was allowed to get in fights anymore because the administrators told her, ‘next time you’ll go to jail and mom gets a fine.’ They (told her) next time make sure the administrator knows before anything else happens.”
The mother said her daughter was given a two-day suspension after last week’s incident. She said she will wait for the outcome of the investigations before deciding whether to take action.
“I just want something done,” she said of the incident with the officer. “Because he could go back and do it again to my daughter or another student.”
Watch the clip below. There’s absolutely no question whether or not this officer used excessive force. We hope and pray he’s dealt with accordingly.