Last month, a school police officer in Baltimore was videotaped kicking and slapping a student outside of a high school. It is alleged that the student spat on the officer prior to the incident. That police officer was arrested on criminal charges that included a felony child abuse charge and two misdemeanor charges. At that time, the officer was suspended without pay because of the felony charge.
The officer is now seeking to have his pay reinstated because the felony charge that led to the suspension without pay has been dropped. If you recall, in our previous blog we discussed how there are several elements that must be present in a child abuse case. One of those elements is that the person who allegedly abused a minor must have had care or custody of the child. In this case, the state's attorney's office determined that the police officer didn't have temporary care or custody of the 16-year-old student who was struck. Without that element, the charge was dropped.
The officer still faces the two misdemeanor charges, which are misconduct in office and second-degree assault. Another officer who was on the scene is also facing those two misdemeanor charges in connection with the incident.
The teen who was allegedly the victim of the assault had to seek treatment at a hospital for injuries to his ribs and face.
There have been calls for the officer to be fired because of the incident, which was caught on video. Still, some people think the current actions taken by the school are sufficient.
Even with the felony charged dropped, this officer still faces serious time in prison. The assault charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years, and the misconduct in office carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. This means that he not only faces criminal penalties, but he has already been subjected to the loss of income because of this incident. Defense strategies will have to be carefully crafted to be able to save both the officers' liberty as well as their careers.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Child abuse charge dropped against Baltimore school police officer in slapping incident," Jessica Anderson and Colin Campbell, April 07, 2016