Police Officer Nicholas Caniglia was caught on a cell phone video (below) on Dec. 17 punching a student at Millard South High School in Omaha, Nebraska.
According to KMTV, there is a longer version of the video that shows some teens taunting another teen, a fight erupting and security guard Tim Kimpson trying to break it up. Caniglia then enters the situation and punches a teen up to five times.
The teen, who was struck by Caniglia, told the news station via text messages that he was OK, but shaken and not able to recall much from the incident.
The teen's friend, student Andreas Dunn, added, "I'm not the kind of person who hates cops, but he's [Caniglia] not a nice person. And he's always been that way."
However, Caniglia was praised for his actions by students and school employees, although they would not go on the record.
A female student, who filmed the incident and wants to remain anonymous, told KETV: "I know these two guys and I saw them start to get mad at each other for something. They were talking mad crap on each other."
Kimpson was punched in the left cheek, and one of the teens has been charged with misdemeanor assault.
The Omaha Police Department (OPD) said in a statement: "The video showed a 15 second snippet of an apparent large fight but failed to capture the situation in its entirety. We are looking into what precipitated the officer's actions and if they were appropriate considering the totality of the circumstances.”
Caniglia has been reassigned while the OPD investigates the incident.
A Millard School spokesperson added: "We are disappointed these students chose to fight. We are grateful no students or staff were seriously hurt. We see the videos you see. We have begun and will continue our investigation."