BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A Baltimore school police officer was acquitted Wednesday on charges that she was complicit in the slapping of a student that was caught on tape, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Saverna Bias, 53, was found not guilty of second-degree assault and misconduct in office for the March 2016 incident at the REACH Partnership School, in which another officer was captured on cell phone video striking a then-16-year-old student who the officers believed to be trespassing.
The victim, who cannot be identified because he is a juvenile, was enrolled at REACH but had attended school just eight days out of the past 180 school days. On March 1, he and Deandre Henderson, a non-student, visited the school dressed in street clothes instead of uniforms, and the officers pegged them as trespassers and asked them to leave.
Henderson said they had visited the school so his friend could pick up his backpack from his locker, and their plan was to leave and hang out. The victim, however, said he intended to attend class and had no locker.
When the officers escorted the teens from the school, Bias noticed a knife clipped inside of the student’s pocket and confiscated it. He became upset, and said Bias told Anthony Spence “to come over and slap me.” He denied spitting on Spence, the officer seen slapping the victim in the video.
The state argued that Bias was guilty of assault by a theory of “accomplice liability,” in which someone who aids in or encourages an assault is guilty. For misconduct in office, they argued she was guilty for encouraging an assault as a law enforcement officer and not intervening.