SAN ANTONIO – Video showing a San Antonio Independent School District police officer slamming a female middle school student to the ground "is alarming," Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood said Thursday.
"My response to it is it was alarming. Without context, it was alarming," he said. "The officer has the young woman in his arms already, so he has some control over her."
LaHood said he wants to know what happened before and after Officer Joshua Kehm, who was placed on paid administrative leave, slammed 12-year-old Janissa Valdez to the ground. He also cautioned the public not to rush to judgment.
"We need a tempered response. We need sober judgment in handling of this situation," he said. "I think that's what's missing, because as a society we get too emotional, and we want to react vs. want to respond."
LaHood said Kehm will be held accountable if the facts of the case justify it.
He also said he is considering a parallel investigation with SAISD.
"I'm not saying we're going to do that," LaHood said. "We're going to give them an opportunity to handle it and do their due diligence on it. But if at some point if I feel that's not happening, then we're going to be proactive."
The district released the following statement Thursday regarding the 33-second video, which was posted online by someone identified as ghost-0.com
"The district launched an investigation (Wednesday) into the incident shown on the video that occurred at Rhodes Middle School. It's important that the investigation be done appropriately and in a timely manner.
"Texas state law requires an investigation to be conducted following a complaint filed against an officer, before that officer can be subject to any disciplinary action. The officer was placed on leave Wednesday morning, pending the outcome of the investigation. We are working to interview as many witnesses as possible, to ensure we take the appropriate action.
'We have no other details about the incident to provide at this time."
Janissa was suspended for two days after the incident but has yet to return to school because she and her mother say they're nervous about what fellow classmates might say to her.
According to Janissa, she and another student planned to meet after school March 29 to talk after Janissa heard that the other student was saying bad things about her.
LaHood said witnesses, statements and possibly other videos need to be taken into account for a thorough and impartial investigation.