Texas Officer Who Body-Slammed 12-Year-Old Student Fired
Texas Officer Who Body-Slammed 12-Year-Old Student Fired

The Texas school officer who body-slammed a 12-year-old student has been fired.

On April 11, the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) announced its termination of Officer Joshua Kehm’s employment with the district. 

Kehm’s termination comes six days after a video surfaced of the SAISD officer forcefully slamming Rhodes Middle School student Janissa Valdez into a brick pavement. Kehm had previously been placed on paid leave

SAISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez said it is the educators’ responsibility to ensure a safe environment for students. 

“We understand that situations can sometimes escalate to the point of requiring a physical response. In this situation we believe that the extent of the response was absolutely unwarranted,” said Martinez.

Martinez notes that Kehm’s report of the incident was “delayed” and “inconsistent with the video,” which is not the “general operating procedures of the police department.” 

In the above video of the March 29 incident, one can see Valdez struggling in Kehm’s grasp before being thrown into the ground. The minor appears immobile while being handcuffed, and slightly dazed, when Kehm pulls her to her feet and takes her away.

In an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America,”Janissa’s face appears to have suffered bruising from the incident.

Valdez’s mother, Gloria Valdez, told News 4 San Antonio, that in the video “you could just hear where she hits the ground. And it’s nothing but concrete, cement.”

“She wasn’t moving. She was just knocked out. I wanted answers and nobody could give me answers,” said Gloria, “I contacted the vice-principal. I talked to the officer. He did what he had to do at the moment—those were his words.”

Both the district police and the district administration have been conducting an investigation of the incident. The law enforcement portion of the investigation has been deferred to a “third part law enforcement agency.”

Of the deferment, Martinez said: “We recognize the high level of emotion generated by this incident, and we want to ensure the public’s trust in this investigation, that it is being conducted without any perception of bias.

“We all want to make sure this kind of incident does not occur again, and we will seek to identify areas where improvement may be needed,” he said. 

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