BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City police say they will be handling the criminal investigation into the disturbing video of a city school officer slapping an d kicking a student.
WJZ was first to show you the video and and bring it to city school leaders’ attention.
The fallout has the schools’ police chief and two officers suspended–and WJZ is not being told why.
WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren speaks with the student’s lawyer.
The Baltimore Police Department’s Special Investigation Response Team will be looking into every aspect of the case. Commissioner Kevin Davis says it’s simply the right thing to do.
The four-second video of a Baltimore school police officer slapping and kicking a 16-year-old student is now the subject of a criminal investigation.
The encounter happened Tuesday morning at REACH! Partnership School in East Baltimore.
The teen’s lawyer says he was hospitalized with bruised ribs.
“As a lawyer, my gut reaction is it’s horrible, this should never happen, we have laws in place to protect this,” said Lauren Geisser, student’s lawyer. “And as a mother, I think I look at this video as any parent would and it makes the hair on my arms stand up.”
The two officers on the recording are now on paid administrative leave.
“I support that investigation because I just never want to see anything like that happen again,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
“There is no reason that such behavior should ever take place,” said Karl Perry, chief school supports officer.
While school officials and their attorneys would not identify the officers, WJZ has learned the officer slapping the student is Anthony Spence, who, according to a Baltimore Sun article, was fired from the sheriff’s office more than a decade earlier.
Spence’s lawyer says he believed the teen was trespassing when he confronted him and called him belligerent and resistant.
“The officer was called to the school, to the first floor for intruders,” said Akil Hamm, acting school police chief.
The fallout also led to the chief of city schools police, Marshall Goodwin, being placed on administrative leave–but school administrators refuse to say why.
“It’s a personnel matter at this time we can’t discuss,” said Hamm.
Several students say Officer Spence has a reputation as a disciplinarian.
“When you’d see a student acting out of place, he’d put them back in their place,” one student said.
“There has been occasions where students will say that he’s aggressive,” said student Steven Anderson.
No criminal charges have been filed, with some activists pushing for the Justice Department to investigate.
The acting city schools police chief says he was not aware of any prior complaints against any of the officers involved. The State’s Attorney’s Office is an active part of the investigation as well.