Baltimore school officers charged in student-slapping incident

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 09, 2016 1:35 PM

By Donna Owens

BALTIMORE (Reuters) - Two Baltimore school police officers caught on video as one of them repeatedly slapped a student outside a high school have been charged in the incident, authorities said on Wednesday.

Video of the March 1 encounter outside Baltimore's REACH! Partnership School went viral on social media, spurring an investigation.

"I was appalled and disappointed. Every emotion went through me,” Gregory Thornton, chief executive of Baltimore City Public Schools, told a news conference announcing the charges.

Officer Anthony Spence, 44, was seen in the video hitting a young man three times and then kicking him. He was charged with second-degree child abuse, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

The child's age and name were not disclosed as he is a minor.

Officer Saverna Bias, 53, was charged with second-degree assault and misconduct in office. According to charging documents, she urged Spence to “smack” the student because he was allegedly insolent.

Spence, a 12-year veteran of the force, and Bias turned themselves in overnight and are out on bond. Authorities are investigating the incident.

Spence's attorney, Michael Davey, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Bias, Spence and Marshall Goodwin, the chief of the school police, have been placed on administrative leave. The officers are scheduled to appear in court in April.

The schools police are separate from the Baltimore Police Department.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by James Dalgleish)