School Cop Body-Slams 12-Year-Old Girl in Video

Joshua Kehm has been placed on paid leave
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2016 7:21 AM CDT

A school police officer is on paid leave after a video surfaced showing him body-slamming a 12-year-old girl, apparently knocking her unconscious. The video recorded March 29 opens showing San Antonio Independent School District Police Officer Joshua Kehm with his arms around sixth-grader Janissa Valdez at Rhodes Middle School. "Janissa, chill!" a bystander says before Kehm throws the girl to the ground. She doesn't move as Kehm handcuffs her hands behind her back. He then lifts her to her feet and leads her away. Janissa tells WOAI that students thought she was going to fight 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 says. She doesn't remember what happened next.

"You could just hear where she hits the ground. And it's nothing but concrete, cement," her mother says. "She wasn't moving. She was just knocked out." Kehm said "he did what he had to do at the moment—those were his words," she adds. A district rep says, "It's very concerning. It's alarming to see this. And while we want to get all the details, I want people to know that excessive force will not be tolerated in this district." The San Antonio Express-News reports the two girls had fought previously and were told to separate. Students tell KSAT that Kehm tried to diffuse the situation peacefully but was kicked several times. Janissa, who denies she kicked the officer, was suspended for two days, while Kehm was placed on paid leave on Wednesday. School officials and police are investigating. (Read more excessive force stories.)

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