© 2020 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

SAISD Fires Officer Who Threw 12-year-old Student To The Ground

San Antonio Independent School District

The San Antonio Independent School District has fired a police officer who threw a 12-year-old girl at Rhodes Middle School to the ground.  The district announced the termination of Officer Joshua Kehm Monday morning.

Superintendent Pedro Martinez said in a written statement: “As educators, it is our responsibility to provide a safe environment for all of our students. 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."

He went on to say, “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.

The incident occurred on March 29 and was caught on a cell phone video by another student who shared it on YouTube. In the clip, Officer Kehm is shown restraining a young woman, later identified as 12-year-old Janissa Valdez, from behind. She kicks and flails before he flips her over his hip and throws her to the ground. He then stands her up to put her in handcuffs.

District spokeswoman Leslie Price said the altercation began with two students being verbally aggressive toward one another. 
District officials immediately placed Kehm on leave and launched an investigation. The district has also referred the law enforcement portion of the investigation to the Texas Rangers.
As part of the district's statement on Monday, they reported that Kehm's report of the incident 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,” Martinez said.