Cop slapping and kicking student…. WTF. Watch nothing happen to him pic.twitter.com/WnI9KKSPd1— Slender??Okeechobee (@aKaButt) March 2, 2016
Two Baltimore, Maryland police officers and Marshall Goodwin — the chief of city school police — are on administrative leave after footage surfaced of a high school student being repeatedly slapped and kicked.
“I was totally appalled at what I saw today,” said Karl Perry, chief officer of school support.
“I’m a parent, and I’m totally appalled at what I saw in that video. No matter what the circumstances are, I am totally appalled,” he added.
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Reach Partnership High School is reportedly one of seven schools in the city that has a school police officer assigned to the building.
You cannot tell from the footage what led to the abuse or what occurred after the camera stopped filming, but upon seeing the few short seconds of the officer’s conduct it’s difficult to imagine that there is any acceptable justification for such behavior.
Acting School Police Chief Akil Hamm said the two officers in the video were responding to reports of two “intruders” inside the building. However, the parents of the 16-year-old seen being slapped in the video confirmed that he does attend the school, according to The Baltimore Sun.
"Anytime there is a law enforcement officer with that level of authority that seems to be abusing that authority, it impacts all of us across the country," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said. "It certainly is not helpful as we work to build bridges of trust to see that level of mistreatment."
City officials have reportedly launched a criminal investigation into the incident. The student and the officers have not yet been named.
Baltimore is one of the many U.S. cities that have been plagued with controversy surrounding police brutality and misconduct against minorities. The teen and the cop seen hitting him are both black.
You would think that law enforcement throughout the city would tread more cautiously as major protests and riots have broken out following the highly-publicized death of Freddie Gray who passed away as a result of a broken neck suffered while he was being transported in the back of a police van.
It’s likely that more of this appalling treatment of students has occurred; the city's school police department operates independently from the Baltimore Police Department and therefore has largely flown under the radar until now.
There’s no telling how many young students have been mistreated or harmed at the hands of school police.
David Pontious, a 17-year-old senior at Baltimore City College High School and a core member of the student-led activist group City Bloc, summed up the reaction to this disturbing situation in the best way possible:
"When we have these acts of extreme violence directed by the people who are supposed to be protecting us toward students, that's a very serious concern to me, to other students and to parents."
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters/Joe Penney