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Jarring New Video Shows A School Police Officer Kicking A Black Teen

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 2/03/2016 Julia Craven
BALTIMORE COP SLAP TEEN © WJZ BALTIMORE COP SLAP TEEN

Four seconds, three slaps, two profane words and one kick. That's the narrative of a disturbing new video that appears to show a Baltimore school police officer assaulting an unidentified male teenager at Reach Partnership High School. 

In the video, which surfaced on Tuesday, the officer slaps and kicks the teen while shouting at him. The officer is not with the Baltimore Police Department, police told WBAL, but he is a member of the Baltimore City Schools Police.

"I was totally appalled at what I saw today," Karl Perry, the school district's chief officer of school supports, told local station WJZ, which first brought the video to the district's attention.

Warning: Video may be disturbing to some.

The officer is still employed, Clyde Boatwright, president of the Baltimore City School Police Union, told WBAL. But school leaders told WJZ that he has been reassigned.

"It is in the early stages of the investigation, and we look forward to a full and complete investigation, and at this point we're just waiting for those results," Boatwright said.

Marshall Goodwin, chief of the Baltimore City Schools Police, is on administrative leave while the school district investigates the situation.

It's not publicly known what sparked the conflict, and school officials have not confirmed whether the teen in the video actually attends the school. Nonetheless, the footage adds to a growing list of incidents of black students being attacked by police officers in school.

"What happened in Baltimore is not an isolated incident but part of a broader pattern of police violence against youth of color," said Thena Robinson Mock, project director for the Advancement Project Ending the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track, in a statement. 

In October, for example, Spring Valley High School resource officer Ben Fields was caught on video hooking his arm around a 16-year-old black girl's neck, flipping her over in her seat, dragging and throwing her across the room, and finally handcuffing her in Columbia, South Carolina.

The problem doesn't end with physical and verbal abuse by school officers. Nationwide, black students are more likely than their white peers to be suspended, regardless of age. Although they make up only 16 percent of public school students, black kids constitute 31 percent of those arrested for a school-related offense. A range of discriminatory policies and practices push mostly black and Latino children out of the classroom and into the juvenile justice system in what's called the school-to-prison pipeline

In Baltimore, where the school system is heavily policed, close to 16 percent of juvenile arrests happen in the schools.

"The bottom line is adults in school buildings should build trust with students, not tear them down with verbal abuse, physical violence, intimidation and harsh disciplinary policies," Robinson Mock said.

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