The issue of police brutality emerges again with a video of a school police officer body-slamming a young girl into the concrete ground.
Yet another sickening example of police brutality has emerged. A Texas school police officer was recently caught on video body-slamming a Hispanic 12-year-old girl into the ground, with the first point of contact being her face. His actions were sparked by an alleged altercation between the girl, Janissa Valdez, and another student.
The officer, identified as Joshua Kehm of the San Antonio Independent School District, is clearly seen lifting the young girl to shoulder height before slamming her onto the concrete ground. An audible crack is heard as her head hits the pavement, even above the ruckus of surrounding students. He then proceeds to handcuff the girl as concerned friends ask of her well-being.
The student filming can be heard exclaiming, “Janissa, you okay? She landed on her face!”
Janissa’s mother, Gloria Valdez told a local San Antonio station that the officer claimed to be threatened by the pre-teen, stating that she had kicked him. Gloria retorts, however, that “in the video her legs never went up.”
Gloria stated that her daughter does not remember the incident after hitting her head, an impact that caused her to lose consciousness and gave her a bruised and swollen right eye. Despite her obvious unconsciousness, Kehm continued to handcuff her. According to Gloria, “He didn’t even seem like it bothered him.”
The incident reportedly started after Janissa was found arguing with another girl over perceived insults; this argument drew attention from other students who believed the two girls would start to fight. Gloria admits that her daughter has gotten in trouble for such behavior before, but blames it on the fact that her daughter “had been bullied at the beginning of the year.” “I talked to a counselor, the vice principal, and principal, she continued. “They said they’d look into it.”
The girl received a two-day suspension as a result of the incident.
Kehm was enlisted in the Air Force and worked as a non-lethal weapons instructor before being hired by the school district. Since the video surfaced of the March 29 occurrence, he has been placed on administrative leave and is currently undergoing investigation for use of excessive force.
SAISD spokesperson Leslie Price stated on GMA that they “will not tolerate excessive force in this district. I can also say we need to find out all the details as to what occurred. The video is very concerning.”
While some may argue this is an isolated incidence, The Washington Post‘s compilation of every fatal police shooting in the U.S. in 2015 indicates otherwise. According to their article, “a hugely disproportionate number – 3 in 5 – of those killed after exhibiting less threatening behavior were black or Hispanic.”
These statistics are undoubtedly troubling, and again prompts the question of the collision between racial bias and aggressive policing.
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