A video released on Tuesday went viral after depicting a summer incident in which a Florida police school resource officer slammed a 13-year-old boy to the ground and twisted his arm inside the Kissimmee Middle School in Kissimmee, Florida.
New York Daily News reports that officer Mario Badia, 41, appears on video on May 8, in the lobby of Kissimmee Middle School, standing by the boy and his mother. The mother and son were arguing when Badia yelled at the 13-year-old for not respecting his parent. He grabbed the boy’s chin in an attempt to make him pay attention, but when the child blocked him with his arm, Badia pushed him, then grabbed him by one arm and his shirt.
Badia proceeded to yank the boy down by his arm while twisting it into a “torque” hold. The 13-year-old reportedly cried out in pain until the officer released him. The video indicates that the teen was never given any commands by Badia before being attacked and according to police documents, the child “never showed any aggression toward Officer Badia anyway.” The boy, weighing only 84 pounds, suffered a sprained ankle and wrist from the attack.
WFTV reports that the boy’s mother, Alexis Richmond, indicated that Badia jumped in quickly and with such force that she felt helpless in the situation.
“He came in with such a hostile manner, like he was ready for war. There’s nothing I can do. I felt so helpless.”
Richmond also stated that there was no need for an officer to interfere with what was going on with her son, which she describes as a “kid being a kid” and talking back to her.
Badia was arrested shortly after the incident and faces a felony child abuse charge. He was placed on leave, according to the Kissimmee Police Department, while the investigation is still underway. Since it’s a paid suspension, Badia has reportedly earned over $15,000 during his leave.
According to a police report filled out by Badia, the child began shouting profanities after he was grabbed, and demanded to be let go. Once Badia let him go, he got up and tried to walk towards the front door.
Along with pressing charges against Badia, she’s also retained an attorney and is considering a lawsuit. She stated that she wants justice served.
“Justice should be served. He should get time for what he did to my son.”
The Central Florida Police Benevolent Association, an organization that represents Kissimmee police officers, didn’t offer any replies to the incident. However, Kissimmee police spokesperson Stacie Miller issued a public statement regarding the attack, that states Badia faces termination.
“The Kissimmee Police Department did not hesitate to relieve Officer Badia from duty upon viewing the video and opened a criminal and an internal investigation into the incident. The internal investigation found that Officer Badia used improper conduct on duty and excessive force as it is related to our use of force policy. Officer Badia has been given notice of our intent to terminate his employment.”
Badia is slated to meet with Kissimmee Police Chief Lee Massie on November 20 to receive his official termination, although the officer has the right to appeal the decision. The criminal trial for the incident begins on December 20.
Police attacks against teens have picked up momentum recently, including a highly publicized event last month in which a video shows officer Curtis Wilson slamming a teenage girl to ground who sat in a classroom at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina.
Officer Badia hasn’t replied or given any interviews regarding the attack.
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