SAN ANTONIO – An officer who was caught on cellphone video slamming a female middle school student to the ground was fired Monday by the San Antonio Independent School District.
Officer Joshua Kehm, was placed on administrative leave effective last Wednesday, but the district decided to terminate his employment Monday, effective immediately.
"As educators, it is our responsibility to provide a safe environment for all of our students," SAISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez said in a statement. "We understand that situations can sometimes escalate to the point of requiring a physical response. However, in this situation we believe that the extent of the response was absolutely unwarranted.
"Additionally, the officer's report was inconsistent with the video and it was also delayed, which is not in accordance with the general operating procedures of the police department. We want to be clear that we will not tolerate this behavior."
The statement also said the district decided to have a third-party law enforcement agency investigate the incident.
"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," Martinez said. "We know that this incident does not define our District police department, which is dedicated to serving and protecting our school community.
"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."
A 33-second video of the incident, which happened March 29 at Rhodes Middle School, was posted by someone on ghost-0.com.
Martinez said Kehm failed to report the incident in a timely manner as dictated by district policy.
“It wasn’t reported well,” Martinez said. “There’s even conflicts a couple of times in the way it was reported by the officer.”
Martinez said the district will release its investigative findings to the Texas Rangers for possible additional action.
He said the incident has the potential of undermining trust of district officers by students.
“I want our officers to be pro-active in working with our children to gain their trust,” Martinez said. “We have good officers, and I don’t want this one incident to be used to judge all of our officers.”
Martinez said the district had already been exploring the possibility of equipping officers with body cameras. He also said that they will be meeting with officers to remind them of their responsibilities.