A San Antonio school police officer caught on video physically picking up a 12 year old girl and violently tossing her to the ground has been fired, school officials confirmed Monday.
School resource officer Joshua Kehm, of the San Antonio School District, was initially put on paid administrative leave after footage of the incident went viral, prompting an investigation last week. Kehm had been employed by the school district since February 2015, according to school district spokeswoman Leslie Price.
“We understand that situations can sometimes escalate to the point of requiring a physical response; however, in this situation we believe that the extent of the response was absolutely unwarranted,” said superintendent Pedro Martinez in a statement.
“Additionally, the officer’s report was inconsistent with the video and it was also delayed, which is not in accordance with the general operating procedures of the police department. We want to be clear that we will not tolerate this behavior,” Martinez said further.
In the incident, taking place March 29 at Rhodes Middle School, a sixth grader identified as Janissa Valdez was picked up and slammed to the ground by Kehm.
Valdez said afterwards that she does not remember being thrown down, telling a reporter that the kids had been anticipating a fight between her and another girl.
“You could just hear where she hits the ground, and it’s nothing but concrete, cement,” said her mother, Gloria Valdez, “She wasn’t moving. She was just knocked out. I wanted answers and nobody could give me answers. I contacted the vice principal. I talked to the officer.”
Valdez added that when she confronted Kehm about brutalizing her daughter the officer replied that he “did what he had to do.”
The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT) has pledged their continued representation and support to Kehm.
“It’s important to point out that Officer Kehm has promised to cooperate with the department’s investigation. However, CLEAT is concerned that the department acted before it has had time to fully evaluate all of the facts in the matter,” said CLEAT Executive Director Charley Wilkison.