Two officers of the Baltimore City School Police are facing criminal charges after one officer was caught on cell phone video repeatedly slapping and kicking a student at the REACH! Partnership School in Baltimore City, last week. Officers Anthony Spence and Saverna Bias turned themselves in Wednesday (March 9), a day after a warrant was issued for their arrests.
In the recording, which was shared on social media, Spence can be seen attacking the student who is up against a wall. According to an eye-witness Bias egged him on saying, “You need to smack him because he’s got too much mouth.”
A lawyer claims Spence thought the student was trespassing. The 44-year-old cop is charged with second-degree child abuse and assault, as well as misconduct. Bias, 52, faces second-degree assault and misconduct. Both officers turned themselves in and were released after posting $50,000 bail.
“We believe it was appropriate for both officers to be charged in this instance,” Lauren Geisser, an attorney for the student said. “Officer Bias did, in fact, direct Officer Spence to strike my client.”
Bias has been placed on paid leave, since she received misdemeanor charges. Spence is on unpaid leave because he faces felony charges.
Spence has a record of questionable behavior. In 2003 he was among two Baltimore sheriff’s deputies fired for a Taser attack on a Salvadoran construction worker mistook for a bank robber. In 2011 his girlfriend, also an school police officer, file a restraining order against him.
Marshall Goodwin, chief of police for Baltimore City Public Schools, has also been placed on administrative leave, though it’s unclear why. An internal investigation is being conducted, by the Baltimore City Schools, while the case will be investigated by the State Attorney’s Office.
Gregory Thornton, CEO of the Baltimore City Schools says the incident was “isolated,” though it is being reviewed to potentially help improve police relations at schools. Thornton was “appalled and disgusted” by the video. “Every emotion from outrage to disappointment went through me,” he said.
Watch video of the assault below.