The Baltimore school police officers who were seen in a video where one of the cops hits a REACH! Partnership School student are facing criminal charges.
Baltimore Police (which is a separate department from the school police) said Officers Anthony C. Spence and Severna Bias were each charged with second degree assault and misconduct in office. Spence, who slapped and kicked the student in the video, also faces is also charged with second degree child abuse. Both officers turned themselves in, police said.
The video circulated widely on March 1. Immediately after its release, chief of Baltimore Schools Police Marshall Goodwin was also put on leave. According to NBC News, charging documents state that Bias told Spence he should hit the student “because he’s got too much mouth.”
At a news conference, Baltimore Schools CEO said the video “really cut right to who I am as a person.”
“I’m charged to take care of our children and here we have some folks doing some things that were certainly inappropriate,” he said. “Every emotion went through me, from outrage to disappointment.”
The incident is a flashpoint in the debate over whether police belong in schools. In similar fashion to school police, advocacy groups argue that the school police don’t have proper training and lack transparency.
“If police are going to be in schools, there must be appropriate oversight, comprehensive training, proper arrest and use of force data collection, and total transparency with the public regarding all of these factors,” the ACLU of Maryland said in a press release issued last week.
Earlier this week, CBS Baltimore reported that school officials are considering outfitting police with body cameras.
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