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School police charged after student assaulted

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Posted at 5:50 AM, Mar 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-09 23:31:44-05

The video clearly shows a school police officer slapping and kicking a student at Reach Partnership, now two Baltimore City School Police officers are charged.

Anthony Spence, 44, and his partner that day, 53-year-old Saverna Bias, were charged after an investigation by the Baltimore Police Department.

"Based on the investigation, Officer Anthony C. Spence has been charged with second degree child abuse, second degree assault, which is a misdemeanor and misconduct in office, which is also a misdemeanor," said Rodney Hill, the chief of BPD’s Internal Affairs division.

Bias could be seen on the video standing behind Spence him as he struck the teen.

According to charging documents, she stated, "You need to smack him, because he's got too much mouth," in the moments leading up to the physical confrontation.

RELATED: Video shows officer hitting, kicking student at Baltimore City school

She is also facing misdemeanor charges of second-degree assault and misconduct in office, but not the felony abuse count.

City police conducted an investigation last week after the clip became public. Baltimore City Police Commissioner Kevin Davis assigned the Special Investigation Response Team to lead the investigation. The team then consulted the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office after the investigation was done.

The investigation revealed that the 16-year-old victim is a student at REACH Partnership School.
City Schools CEO Dr. Gregory Thornton says he was appalled by the video.

"It really cut right to who I am as a person,” Thornton said, “I'm charged to take care of our children and here we have certainly some folks that are doing things that were inappropriate."

But what the school system does in the way of conducting background checks, hiring and training its officers is also being reviewed.

Initially, school administrators said the officers had responded to a call for intruders in the building who were trespassing, only to find out later the victim was a student.

See also: Baltimore Police taking over investigation of school officer slapping a person

"We operate off of flash reports, and the initial flash report did not identify a student,” said Chief Officer of School Supports Karl E. Perry, “In addition, we had the school administration look at the video—the same video that you have seen, which was a grainy video, and at that time they could not identify the student as well."

The school's surveillance cameras did not capture the incident outside its front doors, and no one is commenting on what the student did, if anything, to outrage the officers.

Police say the officers turned themselves in Tuesday night and were processed at Central Booking, but have since posted bail to gain their release.

School police say Spence has been placed on administrative leave without pay, while Bias will remain on administrative leave with pay. The school police department internal investigation is ongoing and the case has been handed over to the Public Integrity Unit of the State’s Attorney’s Office, according to police.

Spence is due in court on April 7 for a preliminary hearing.

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