Texas School Cop Who Body-Slammed 12-Year-Old Girl Is Fired
April 12, 2016
By: Tim Stelloh
The Texas school cop who body-slammed a 12-year-old girl last month was fired Monday, San Antonio school officials said.
In a statement, the San Antonio Independent School District said that while the investigation into the March 29 altercation was continuing, school officials “made the decision to terminate the employment of Officer Joshua Kehm, effective immediately.”
The body-slam was was captured on video,which was posted online anddescribed as “alarming” by Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood.
In the clip, Kehm is seen picking up the student, sixth grader Janissa Valdez, and slamming her face-first onto the ground.
In the statement, district superintendent Pedro Martinez said that some situations “can escalate to the point of requiring a physical response; however, in this situation we believe that the extent of the response was absolutely unwarranted.”
Martinez added that Kehm’s report on the altercation was “inconsistent” with the video, as well as delayed — a detail that meant the officer didn’t follow the district police department’s “general operating procedures.”
“We want to be clear that we will not tolerate this behavior,” Martinez said.
Once the school district’s investigation is complete, the district attorney’s office will conduct its own inquiry.
In a statement to NBC News, Charley Wilkison, the executive director of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, said that the union will continue to assist Kehm with “whatever legal representation he needs.”
Wilkison added that Kehm “has promised” to cooperate with the department’s investigation. “However,” Wilkison said, the association “is concerned that the department acted before it has had time to fully evaluate all of the facts in the matter.”
Janissa has said that the incident occurred as students were gathering for a potential fight between her and another girl. “I was going up to her to tell her let’s go somewhere else so we could talk, but that’s when the cop thought I was going at her,” she said. “I wasn’t going to do anything.”
The altercation is one of several that has vaulted the issue of school officers allegedly roughing up students into the national spotlight.
In October, the FBI was asked to investigate a viral video appearing to show an officer body slamming — then dragging — a female high school student in South Carolina. And in August, the ACLU sued a Kentucky Sheriff’s office after a cell phone video appeared to show a deputy illegally shackling two disabled students.