A school district police officer has been suspended, with pay, after a cell phone video (below) emerged, showing him slamming a middle school student onto a concrete floor.
On March 29, Officer Joshua Kehm attempted to intervene in what he thought was a "physical altercation" between Janissa Valdez and a friend at Rhodes Middle School in San Antonio, Texas.
According to Janissa, the incident began after she and her friend planned to meet up. Janissa had reportedly heard that her friend was saying mean things about her and wanted to confront her about it.
"I was walking toward [my friend], telling her, 'Let’s go somewhere else,' because there was a lot of people," Janissa told KSAT News.
"Then that’s when other people came over and the officer thought we were going to fight, so that’s whenever he came and did that," she added.
"That" refers to Kehm's decision to slam Janissa to the ground while surrounded by a crowd of students.
Gloria Valdez, Janissa’s mother, arrived at the school soon after the altercation.
"I was upset," Gloria said. "I was angry, because I still couldn't believe that he had done that to her."
Janissa was suspended for two days but has yet to return to school.
"And then she told me 'Mom, I wasn't fighting,'" Gloria added. "'Why would he do that?'"
The student’s family did not see the video, which has been uploaded to the Ghost-0 YouTube channel, until a few days later.
"You could just hear where she hits the ground," Gloria told WOAI News. "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. I contacted the vice principal. I talked to the officer. He did what he had to do at the moment - those were his words."
Due to the cell phone video, internal and external investigations have been initiated within the San Antonio Independent School District. Kehm was placed on paid leave.
"It's very concerning," Leslie Price, spokesperson for the school district, said. "It's alarming to see this."
A group of students told KSAT News that Kehm attempted to intervene peacefully and that he was kicked numerous times. Janissa denied having kicked the officer.
"We need to find out the details as to what occurred, but I can say that we will not tolerate excessive force in this district," Price said.
Janissa has a large bump on her head but is not injured otherwise, according to doctors.
The video of the incident has since gone viral; after being uploaded to YouTube on April 5, it has garnered over 250,000 views in just two days.