A video showing a police officer slamming a 12-year-old girl to the ground at Rhodes Middle School has initiated an investigation by the San Antonio Independent School District. Meanwhile, the officer has been put on paid administrative leave.

The 33-second video was published online on Ghost-0, a site dedicated to investigative journalism. It shows officer Joshua Kehm, who has been working with the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) for a year, tackling Janissa Valdez to the ground, a sixth-grade student, on March 29.

Mother Gloria Valdez (left) said that the police officer didn’t seem to be bothered about the body slam. The confused schoolgirl was then put in handcuffs and taken away by the police officer. Credit: YouTube

When Janessa was detained by the police, students seemed to smirk at the situation. However, when the officer proceeded to slam her to the ground, a joint silence, followed by an “ouuhhh, Janissa are you ok?” can be clearly heard in the video.

Gloria Valdez, Janessa’s mother, said to Ksat that moments after the incident occurred, she went to the school to pick up her daughter.  She said she felt angry and upset about the officer actions because her daughter affirmed her that she was not planning to involve in a fight when the police officer detained her.

Janissa said that she wanted to talk to another girl who was apparently talking about her behind her back. On March 29 they decided to meet after school.

“I was walking toward her, telling her, ‘Let’s go somewhere else,’ because there was a lot of people. Then that’s when other people came over and the officer thought we were going to fight, so that’s whenever he came and did that.” Said Janissa to Ksat.

It appears that Gloria Valdez has obtained “few answers” from the police, about what occurred with her daughter. However, Janissa was suspended for two days and is still nervous about what her friends are going to say about her.

The case is under investigation: SAID “will not tolerate excessive force”

The 12-year-old girl did not offer resistance to the police detainment, but she ended up with a swollen bruise near her right eye, said Ksat. The case is currently being investigated by the SAISD, which has received a video of the incident.

Leslie Price, a spokeswoman for SAISD, reported that a formal investigation has been launched within the police department, and at the administrative level. She added that authorities need to find more details about what happened, but the institution will not tolerate “excessive force in the district”.

Some students have said to Ksat that officer Kehm had been trying to stop a fight between the two girls. By contrast, Gloria Valdez said that what disgusts her the most is that the police officer handcuffed her daughter while she was “unconscious” after her head hit the concrete. 

“She had been bullied at the beginning of the school year. 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.” said Valdez to the San Antonio Express-News.

Source: Ksat